How to Name Your Girl Band

      July 19, 2018 13:48

      No fewer than 77 K-pop girl bands have been manufactured in the last three years, far more than even the most enthusiastic market for their sugary chirpings can sustain.

      Even supposing that some are quite good, they need to find other ways to stand out, one of them being the name. Successful bands' names become a brand, often sustaining the starlets with sales of merchandise more than album revenues.

      In the past, before boy and girl bands completely took over the K-pop scene, most names of these groups were "awarded" by the CEO of their management agency. But now a whole operation is needed to figure out what will fly.

      Big management agencies invite branding experts and go through many rounds of meetings and discussions to decide on names of new bands. Dozens of people are involved.

      "Before, it was often the case that a new group was named by our CEO Lee Soo-man. But now we have internal meetings about it," said a staffer at SM Entertainment. At YG Entertainment, the producer in charge of each team usually suggests a name, but CEO Yang Hyun-suk makes the final decision.

      The girl group Hash Tag, which was launched last year

      Some agencies hold open naming contests, but that is getting less popular. Girl band A Pink is using its project name, because there were so many obscene or otherwise waggish entries that the competition became pointless.

      The names also reflect the bands' changing fan base. Nah Sang-chun at MLD Entertainment, which manages Momoland, said, "Most fans used to be girls, and it's only recently that the male fan base started to grow. The rule of thumb used to be that the name should be inspiring for girls and create an independent and bold image. Girls Day were named that way because they want every day to be a day for girls, but they are gaining more and more male fans."

      With K-pop getting wider global recognition, it is now important that the name is easy to pronounce for non-Koreans. "Some CEOs are very sensitive to these jinxes and rules, so they often go to naming specialists for help," said a staffer at Plan A Entertainment.

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