“When I heard that it was on the (Billboard) chart for the first time, Aran and I were shocked and covered our mouths.” (Sio)
There is a girl group that has been listed on the US Billboard’s main single chart ‘Hot 100’, which is difficult to listen to once in a lifetime, in just 4 months of debut, the shortest period in K-pop history. It was also not a one-shot, but achieved a ‘reverse chart run’ for 3 weeks in a row, drawing keen attention from the music industry.
This is the story of Fifty Fifty, a 4-member girl group that debuted in November of last year.
Their single ‘Cupid’, released in February this year, went viral mainly overseas and ranked 100th, 94th, and 85th on the ‘Hot 100’, respectively. Along with Billboard, it also succeeded in entering the UK’s official single chart ‘Top 100’, which is called the world’s two largest charts.
At a press conference held in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the afternoon of the 13th, Fifty Fifty was surprised, saying, “I didn’t expect (to enter the Billboard chart) at all.”
Vocalist Aran said, “I woke up, pulled back the curtains (at the news of entering Billboard) and shouted, ‘We heard it!'” and added, “I couldn’t believe it that much. I liked the song so much that I thought it would be a good song someday, but I didn’t expect it to be this good.”
“Cupid” is a song that expresses one’s feelings honestly after being denied a confession, and features a comfortable rhythm to listen to. It is a synth-pop song with a retro atmosphere, and the synthesizer sound gives off a refreshing feeling.
Main vocalist Shio explained, “I’ve been looking for a song that expresses the image of a pure girl who is clumsy in love.” “I chose ‘Cupid’ as the title song because I thought it would show my will to grow on my own without relying on Cupid.” .
Main rapper Kina laughed, saying, “Hearing our music playing on the street was my dream as a trainee when I was a trainee, but recently hearing our song playing on the street or in a store makes me realize our popularity.”
Team leader and main dancer Sana said about the secret to the popularity of “Cupid”, “Ever since we were trainees, we have been thinking a lot about how to convey and contain our positive energy. I think this part touched the listeners.” analyzed.
He added, “It’s comfortable to listen to and has a soft feel, so overseas fans listened to it first.”
However, their success cannot be explained simply by saying ‘the song was good’. In the music industry, the popularity of ‘Cupid’, especially in the West, in short-form content such as TikTok is also believed to have a great influence.
Sana pointed out, “Thanks to TikTok users, it has become known to more people, but the most essential part is music.” .
It is said that Western music listeners voluntarily consumed music without relying on local media exposure or huge fandom through agencies, leading to Billboard results.
In particular, in addition to the original Korean song, the English version (twin version) was included in the single album to meet the eye level of North American music fans.
Fifty Fifty’s agency, Attract, is known to be in contact with local labels in order to earnestly advance into overseas markets such as North America.
Popular music critic Kim Do-heon said, “K-pop is a popular genre in TikTok, but in recent years, K-pop’s use of TikTok was aimed at inducing a ‘challenge’, but it was no different from the mandatory promotional videos released on other social media platforms.” However, the trend of Fifty Fifty’s ‘Cupid’ was a bit different.”
He said, “The speed-up version of ‘Cupid’ has more than three times as many views as the original song. A video in which an anonymous TikToker introduced the song by raising the BPM, saying, “It’s the best free chorus of 2023,” went viral, and the original song trend started.” He pointed out the success factor.
He continued, “Videos that have nothing to do with the song are popular, and the flatness of the song is helpful in this case.” However, through TikTok viral (word of mouth), we are facing huge achievements that we could not have imagined.”
“Through ‘Cupid’, we wanted to clearly convey the message that we are advancing independently. As in the lyrics of ‘Cupid is a Fool’, instead of helping out, we achieved great results when we did it proactively.” (Aran)
“I am very grateful for this result, but it is also a burden. I’m thinking about what song to show next. In order to show the color of 555, which is more complete, I will give you good music with serious thoughts and concerns. This is the start” (Saena)