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Explainer: The Anatomy of a Kpop Album

Wondering why Kpop fans still buy physical albums? Here's your answer!

In this day and age of digital media, everything we do can be done and all the things we look for can be found on the internet— this fact applies most especially to music.

Music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have paved the way for artists to put their music out in the digital age, making it easier for their fans to listen to their music whenever, wherever. (Read: 3 Platforms Where You Can Listen to Kpop Other Than Spotify)

It is also because of this that some wonder why there are people who still buy physical copies of albums. This mostly goes for Kpop fans who get excited whenever their favorite groups announce a new album, and immediately head on to the respective websites to pre-order the albums.

What makes Kpop albums so appealing that despite having them on streaming platforms, fans still opt to get the physical copies? My Pope gives you an ‘anatomy’ of a Kpop album, so you’d understand what the hype is all about!

Anatomy of a Kpop Album: Photobook

Photos from Amazon and (background) Freepik

An album photobook is what is implied in its name— it’s a set of photos of the artist specifically shot for the album. For groups, some albums either have group photobooks (the entire group), unit photobooks (for example, rappers are one unit and singers are another), or solo photobooks of a member.

Anatomy of a Kpop Album: Photocards

Photos from Pinterest and (background) Freepik

A photocard or PC is one of the main reasons fans buy the album! It is a photo of the idol or a member of a group that is printed on a sturdy type of glossy paper, similar to trading cards back in the day. Usually, the photos are selcas (self-cameras or selfie) of the idol/s which were taken for the album like when they were recording it or unreleased photos during a shoot.

Some PCs are rare which is why fans who are able to get them safeguard it and keep it where it won’t get destroyed. Some fans also trade with others so they could get their favorite members.

Anatomy of a Kpop Album: Postcards & Stickers

Photos from Lazada Philippines and (background) Freepik

Postcards are not to be confused with photocards! Postcards are “extra inclusions” in the album that have the artists’ handwriting on it. For example, for boy group Seventeen’s Director’s Cut album, they had ‘business cards‘ for postcards that had 13 different clapperboards for each member to write their name on. Some artists, on the other hand, have postcards as “pre-order benefits” for fans.

Stickers are either photos of the members or the album art–it depends on the theme of the album itself! (Read: LOOK: These Hallyu-Inspired Items Are a Must-Add to Cart!)

Anatomy of a Kpop Album: Lyric Books

Photos from iMusic and (background) Freepik

Just like in the earlier days, Kpop albums also have lyric books included in the set. Some artists have a separate one for lyrics, while others include it in the back of their photobooks. Lyrics books are simply a compilation of the lyrics for all the songs included in the album, and song credits for all of them.

Anatomy of a Kpop Album: First-Press & Pre-order Benefits

Photos from S-Korea Facebook and (background) Freepik

First-press benefits are given to those who were able to purchase in the first batch of albums that were produced. Some artists have a special photocard for first-press benefits while others have freebies such as luggage tags.

On the other hand, pre-order benefits are benefits that everyone who pre-ordered the album before the official release of the album to the public. Benefits range from calendars to postcard sets to photocard sets to lenticular photocards!

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