The K-Pop ABC for newcomers and professionals

by Janina Sauer
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K-Pop has its own language - here's a short overview of the most important terms including an explanation, so that you always have an overview and can join in the conversation :)

A

Aegyo - In Korean, the term refers to exaggeratedly cute behavior. For example, K-pop idols speak in baby voices or form hearts with their fingers when asked to "aegyo."

Akgae - A member of a band who receives a conspicuous amount of attention compared to the other band members.

All-Kill - When a band's song or album reaches the top spot in all South Korean music charts, it is called an "all-kill."

B

Bias - Your personal favorite band. Every fan has his or her own inclination

Bias Wrecker - The band member that attracts the most attention after the bias and sometimes even distracts from the bias.

Black Ocean - At K-pop concerts or music shows, fans often wave the lightstick of their favorite band. For example, when the entire arena is filled with red lightsticks, it's called a "Red Ocean." A "Black Ocean" occurs when "fans" collude and all turn off their lightsticks to boycott a particular band and their performance. In this case the arena or a part of it becomes dark and silent.

C

Center - The member of the band who dances in the center most of the time during the performance and thus gets the most screentime. The center is not a fixed position and changes often, though not always during a comeback.

CF - "CF" is short for "Commercial Film" and in Korea refers to commercials that run on television.

Comeback - A comeback occurs whenever a K-pop band or individual artist releases a new song. In this case, the song in question is promoted on various music shows. The concept of a comeback includes the theme of the song as well as the makeup and outfits of the band members.

D

Dance Practice - K-Pop is known for the dance choreographies that go with the songs. Fans also like to copy these, and special "Dance Practice" videos are published for this purpose.

Discography - A discography is a detailed listing of sound recordings. For K-pop artists, a distinction is usually made between studio albums, extended plays and single albums, which differ mainly in the number of songs they contain.

E

Ending Fairy - The member whose face is zoomed in on after a music show.

F

Fan Chant - For each song there is an official "Fan Chant", a fan chant to support their idols at concerts and music shows. This is either created by the fan communities or even by the respective band.

Fighting - A shout out for support and motivation.

G

Gaon Chart - Initiated in 2010, the Gaon Chart provides an insight into the weekly best-selling songs and music albums in South Korea, which are included in the end-of-year evaluation - in the calculations of the award shows.

Generations - Generations are the different periods since the emergence of K-pop.

H

Hallyu - The term stands for "Korean Wave" and describes how K-Pop literally overruns everything and everyone and becomes increasingly popular.

Hanteo Chart - The Hanteo Chart, unlike the Gaon Chart, is a "real-time chart". The count is real-time and not cumulative over a period of time. The chart gets its data from Hanteo certified stores, which report their actual sales to the end customer. This data is also used in the scoring of the weekly music shows.

Here you can find out even more about the two charts!

Hiatus - The term refers to a break or interruption of activities. When a K-pop artist announces a hiatus, he interrupts his activities for a longer period of time, for example to recover from an illness.

I

Idol - members of the K-pop bands. They are real role models for their fans.

Here you can find Albums and merchandise of your idols!

L

Leader - The leader is usually the oldest member of the band and is like a father/mother to the rest of the members; that is, he takes care of the others, motivates them, and represents the band by, for example, doing the talking at awards ceremonies.

Line Distribution - The distribution of song parts among the members of a band. In "line distribution" videos created by fans, it is often compared who sings how many song lines, with main vocals, i.e. the main singers of a group, usually having particularly large parts. Unfortunately, the comparison also often shows that some members continuously have extremely few vocal parts.

M

Maknae - This is the youngest member of a band. However, this term is used not only within a band, but also within a family.

MV - Abbreviation for "Music Video".

N

Netizen - Netizen is made up of "Citizen" and "Internet" and describes people on the Internet.

O

OST - abbreviation for Official Soundtrack of Korean TV series.

P

Point Dance - A special, unusual movement of the dance routine of any song.

R

Rookies - The term "rookies" refers to young artists who have recently debuted. At this stage, young artists stay about 1-2 years.

S

Sasaeng - "Sasaeng" describes extreme fans. Most often, the term is used as a negative term for fans who stalk public figures or otherwise invade their privacy.

Shelfie - A "selfie" of your shelf and K-Pop collection.

Selca (Day) - "Selca" is the Korean term for "Selfie". Each band has their own so-called Selca Day with associated hashtag. Fans can then post a picture of themselves combined with their idol including the matching hashtag on the respective days.

Here Learn more about the famous Selca Days here!

Survival shows - Korean casting shows in which individual candidates or groups compete against each other and are eliminated piece by piece until one or more winners remain.

Here you can find out more about Survival Shows!

U

Ultimate Bias - The absolute favorite singer, not only within a band, but in K-pop as a whole. The favorite among the favorites, so to speak. Logically, the Ultimate Bias is also the bias from the respective band.

Unboxing - On the Internet you can find countless "unboxing videos" from fans and increasingly also from K-pop stores, in which albums and other fan articles are unboxed in front of the camera to show the contents. Unboxings help fans decide whether or not to buy an album.

Underrated - In German "unterschätzt". Often fans talk about "underrated" bands; groups that deserve more attention and whose talent is underestimated.

Unit/ Sub-Unit - Larger bands in particular are often divided into "units" that also release their own songs. Besides these smaller groups that emerge from a band, there are also Special Units or Project Units, which consist of members of different bands and usually exist only for a short time.

V

Visual - The visual is the member who represents the group - the face of the band.

Vocal Line, Dance Line, Hyung Line (…) - When one speaks of the "vocal line" of a group, the main singers are meant. The "Dance Line" consequently means the main dancers. The boy group Seventeen has already clearly defined who belongs to the vocal, dance or rap line before their debut and is also active in these groupings separately. Outside of this subdivision into positions, there is also the designation "Hyung Line", among others. This refers to the older members of the band; in BTS this would be RM, J-Hope, Suga and Jin. In contrast, the younger members Jungkook, Jimin and V form the "Maknae Line".

W

WeVerse - WeVerse is the official store of Big Hit, a South Korean entertainment agency and record label.

Did you know all the terms? Feel free to write us in the comments which term we should still include in our K-Pop ABC :)

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