We explain the different album versions!

by Helen Bosch
nolae k-pop onlineshop sreenchots: products
nolae k-pop onlineshop sreenchots: products

K-Pop Blog > Overview > K-Pop Guide

Not all K-Pop albums are the same. There are different versions like Standard, Limited, Photobook, Kihno, Special and Compact versions and different album types like Studio Album, Repackage Album and Full-lenght Album, just to name a few examples. But what does it all mean? So that no questions remain open, we have formulated a simple definition to all versions and album types!

  • Definitions of Album Versions
  • Definitions of Album Types

Definitions of Album Versions:

Some of the terms are mainly used to distinguish the different versions of an album from each other, because nowadays there is rarely only one.

Compact: The compact version contains less extras than other versions of the same album and is usually smaller. But of course it is also cheaper!

Deluxe: A Deluxe Edition generally just has a bit more content than other versions and is accordingly more expensive. In fact, this designation is almost not used at all compared to all the others. One of the few examples would be "BTS - BE (Deluxe Edition)" or "Taeyeon - Vol.2 Purpose (Deluxe Edition)".

Digipack: The digipack versions are very simple compared to others. They are just about the size of a CD, square and flat. Buyers get a paper sleeve that can be opened. Inside they find a CD, a small booklet with photos and a few extras; in most cases photo cards and posters. They're actually like jewel case versions, except the sleeve is paper instead of plastic.

Digital Code: These versions include a "digital code card" with a QR code instead of the usual CD, which gives the buyer access to a digital version of the album and in some cases exclusive videos or digital photos.

Jewel Case: We probably all know about jewel cases - square plastic cases for storing CD's that are used all over the world, especially for music albums. Most K-Pop albums are much more extensive and consist of a photo book or even whole boxes. But as an alternative, there is often a jewel case version. This is of course a bit simpler, because only a small booklet fits into the case, but there are still almost always photo cards or other small extras included.

Kihno: Kihno albums are versions that contain a so-called "air kit" instead of a CD and are usually much smaller than "normal" versions. Usually buyers get a photo card set and postcards with it; no photo book. The Air-Kit gives them access to the digital album. To do this, they have to connect the Air-Kit to their cell phone and also download the matching app "KiT Player".

Limited: A version that is only temporarily available. Either only a certain number of albums are produced or the album is only available for a certain time. Who plays with the idea to buy a limited edition, should not wait too long, because a few days later it could already be out of stock!

LP: The abbreviation LP stands for "Long Playing" and usually refers to vinyl records. The predecessor of the CD's still enjoys great popularity today, which is why even K-Pop singers release vinyl versions of their albums from time to time!

Nemo: Nemo versions consist of a small rectangular plastic case - most comparable to the cases of cassettes - containing a few photo cards and a Nemo card. The sleeve is just large enough for the photo cards to fit perfectly inside. Buyers need to download the matching app "Nemoz" and use it to scan the Nemo card. Then they can listen to the digital album in the app and also get digital, high-resolution photos. There are not too many Nemo versions of albums yet. An example would be "The Earth: Secret Mission Ch.2" by the boy band MCND.

Photobook: Of course, when a version is titled as a "Photobook" version, it mainly means that it contains a photobook. In addition, it usually means that the other versions are focused on other content and do not contain a photobook or contain a photobook with much fewer pages.

Platform: this version consist of a paper photo card holder that contains photo cards and in some cases stickers or a postcard. A QR code and serial number is printed on the back of a photo card. Buyers must download the "1Takes" app and then use the code or number to access digital content: An album info, all tracks from the album, digital photo cards, the music video and possibly exclusive photos and videos. The photo card holder is just a little bigger than the photo cards themselves.

Special Album: This is probably the most imprecise term of all, because many agencies' understanding of it is different. In some cases, "special album" is simply an alternate term for "limited edition" or "Repackage". But often it simply means the albums are released for a special occasion, such as the band's anniversary, and are dedicated to the fans.

Standard: In comparison with others, the standard version is the "normal" edition. So the term is only used when there are two or more versions. The others have either more or less content than the standard version and are usually structured quite differently.

Definitions of Album Types:

The following album types are not limited to K-Pop albums, but are also used in the Western music world. But since not all of them are known to new K-Pop fans, we list the most important ones for you here:

Compilation albums consist of previously released songs. They are often called "Best Off Album" because they contain the artist's greatest hits. They are perfect for new fans who want to have as many of the most popular songs as possible in their collection quickly. It is not uncommon for the track list to include a brand new song or even more!

A Full Album, also called Full-length Album or Studio Album , contains ten or more songs. All albums that contain less are considered mini or single albums.

Live albums , as the name implies, consist of live recordings of concerts so fans can get that special vibe at home. In K-Pop, they are also called Concert Albums .

A Mini Album or Extended Play is longer than a single album but too short to be called a full album. It usually consists of four to seven tracks.

Mixtapes are usually hip-hop albums that are released digitally. Most or all of the songs on the mixtape are written and often even produced by the artist.

A Repackage Album is a "repackaged" version of a previously released album. The repackage contains all the songs from the previous album plus two to four brand new songs added. In addition, there is a completely new physical album.

Single Albums contain one single. Often there is a second track on it: a B-side or a remix of the single, sometimes both.


Is there any term we should still explain? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

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