K-Pop merchandise is one of the aspects of Korean music that is notably different from western music, added to this is the way that Korean entertainment companies market artists as idols. The CDs therefore reflect this extravagant and fan-aimed style. These CDs are incredibly different to western music, where it is simply placed in a clear plastic case with an album cover in the form a paper booklet. Yet Korean CDs are something entirely different. The idol psyche seeps through every aspect of these interesting items. The packaging is unique for every album; CDs come in every shape or size. Many who have no interest in the music marvelled in the high quality of the CD that I ordered.
Another difference is the photo books that accompany most K-Pop CDs. Pages of high quality idol photos that fans can happily look through. Some CDs may have a photo booklet attached, whilst others have photos on card (FT Island‘s album “Five Treasure Box”) or separate booklets for each member (SHINee‘s album “Sherlock”). Many albums also include a collectable photo card which has become popularly traded. Moreover many of these albums are repackaged with different covers, even to the extent of each member having its own cover for the album (SNSD‘s album “I got a Boy”) or bands released special additions which have even more photographs or extra K-Pop merchandise.
They are an extremely exciting part of K-Pop and make it even more addictive as fans try to collect their favourite artists ‘albums. The only downside to these beautiful CDs is for non-Korean residents it can cost quite a bit to get them shipped abroad. Sourcing the CDs is easy and the internet offers plenty of websites to order from. This makes it more expensive than a regular CD from a shop yet the wait for this item is beyond compare. Being able to have a physical copy of the songs that you replay over and over again is something that can never be replaced by computer downloads.
Report written by Kerenza McFaul