K-Pop Group SuperM Becomes the First Korean Act to Debut at #1 on the Billboard 200
SuperM, known by some fans as the “Avengers of K-Pop,” became the first Korean act to land No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with their debut LP this week.
The “supergroup” also re-entered the Billboard Artist 100 chart at No. 1, becoming the top musical act in the U.S. for the first time.
Announced by leading South Korean label SM Entertainment in August, SuperM merges seven prominent idols from the company’s existing boy groups, whose careers emerged as early as 2008.
SuperM consists of Taemin from SHINee (2008), Baekhyun and Kai from EXO (2012), Mark and Taeyong from NCT (2016), and finally, Lucas and Ten from NCT’s Chinese subunit WayV (2019).
Released on Oct. 4, the act’s first album, aptly titled “SuperM: The 1st Mini Album,” launched with 168,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 10, effectively securing the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The chart ranks the most popular albums of a week in the U.S. based on the consumption of equivalent album units, which are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Of SuperM’s 168,000-unit record, 164,000 were traditional album sales, a surprising figure in an era virtually dominated by streaming. The rest comprised less than 1,000 TEA units and a little over 3,000 SEA units.
To put the album’s streaming performance into perspective, every 1,500 song streams counts as one sale, which means SuperM’s seven-track album was streamed around 4.9 million times in its first week.
How SuperM managed to make a historic album debut can essentially be attributed to the combined rabid fanbase of its members, amplified by SM Entertainment’s marketing strategy.
For starters, the label released eight different versions of the group’s album: one for each member and a “united version.”
It turns out fans were encouraged to buy at least seven albums to complete a SuperM logo using the spines.
Then, those able to complete the logo were promised the chance to appear on one of the group’s Instagram Stories.
As traditional album sales came in, digital copies were included in every merch item on SM Entertainment’s online store. They also came with the purchase of tickets to SuperM’s U.S. arena tour, which started selling a day after the album’s release, BuzzFeed News reported.
Finally, a note on SM Entertainment’s store stated that all U.S. sales “officially count” toward Billboard charts. It also appeared on the store’s Instagram page.
BTS has also reached the top spot in the Billboard 200, but the group had already placed more than one entry on the tally. For this reason, SuperM is the first K-pop act to debut at the top of the chart, Forbes noted.
However, SuperM is second to BTS in leading the Artist 100, since the latter has ruled the chart for five total weeks.