SNSD vs 2NE1: Who is the Winner of Kpop Girl Group War?


Who do you think is the best Kpop girl group? Girls' Generation(SNSD)? Or 2NE1? Well, the two group went head to head in early 2014. Girls' Generation made a comeback with its new song 'Mr. Mr.', while 2NE1 released 'Come Back Home'.

It is uncommon to see top idol groups releasing their latest album at the same time. In the majority of cases, idol groups try to avoid a tough opponent.

Then, how did the result of the confrontation between Girls' Generation and 2NE1 turn out? It is a matter of each group's pride.

Style of Performance
Girls' Generation's musical style mixes genres of pop, R&B and dance. The members usually leave song writing to experts because SM Entertainment has a competitive A&R(Artist and Repertoire) team that devises all the proper concepts and songs for each artist. The group's songs have been mostly composed by SM Entertainment's producer Yoo Young Jin since their debut, but they recently began to ask famous foreign artists such as The Underdogs, Lindy Robbins and Brent Paschke for song writing. Through its stage performance, Girls' Generation pursues perfection rather than freedom. 

2NE1's music is based primarily upon hip hop. Their hits have been mostly composed by YG Entertainment's producer Teddy, and the songs have some consistent atmosphere. However, there was a big change. Through the group's second regular album released in early 2014, leader CL started to release her self written songs. Based on trap beats, she has composed attractive tracks. As you can see in the case of Big Bang's G-Dragon, 2NE1's label mate, YG tends to utilize its artist's distinct individuality. 2NE1 pursues freedom rather than perfection. Some people seems to think that 2NE1 has better musicality than Girls' Generation because 2NE1 does their own music.



Broadcasting and Individual Activities
Girls' Generation is active in broadcasting activities. After releasing 'Mr. Mr.', the members appeared in a variety TV show programs such as MBC's 'Radio Star', SBS' 'Healing Camp' and Mnet's 'Beatles Code'. And all the members have been active in individual activities too. As for Yoona, she is now one of the most desired TV actresses and CF models in Korea. Each member has been capturing people's hearts by showing off their doll-like appearance through mass media and each of them has huge fan base.

2NE1 has been reluctant about appearing in TV shows. After releasing 'Come Back Home', they did not make appearance in any TV show program except for some music chart shows. Instead, 2NE1 held concerts in Seoul and Hong Kong, traveling back and forth between foreign country and Korea. As the members have been receiving little attention as competitive actresses or CF models, it seems that their public fan base is smaller than that of Girls' Generation.



Agency's Public Relation Activity
SM and YG have completely different styles of public relation activity. As I'm working as a journalist, I mainly talk with press agents of both agencies.

SM aims at perfection. They maintain good relationship with all the types of media and have no enemies. If media demands explanation about significant issues such as rumors of SM artist's romance with somebody, SM offers reply as soon as possible.

However, YG's public relation activity has selective system. Not every media likes the agency because YG just takes good care of their nearest media outlets. YG has some enemies, but it also has reliable advocates. And if media demands explanation about sensitive issues such as rumors of YG artist's romance with somebody, YG just ignores calls.


Who is the Winner of Kpop Girl Group War?
Before taking up the main subject, I want to say that I'm not talking about 'better' girl group. Both of Girls' Generation and 2NE1 are the most representative girl groups in Korea, and each member has great skill as a competitive pop singer. It's just a matter of difference in genre and style.

Anyway, I asked some Kpop industry workers about the result of the confrontation between Girls' Generation and 2NE1. They said that it was a near race but Girls' Generation is the winner this time. Girls' Generation lifted more No.1 trophies on various music chart shows, while the group was one jump ahead of 2NE1 on viewers' vote, album sales and music video views. 2NE1 was only strong on online music charts.

The official from one Kpop agency stated, "Of course, 2NE1 also showed its strength as a competent girl group. But thanks to its huge fan base and agency's full support, Girls' Generation has been in the ascendant."


A Story Behind Girl Group War
Before the album release, Girls' Generation announced that they will release the music video of 'Mr. Mr.' on February 19 and the album on February 24. And after the announcement, YG made a confrontation declaration by saying that 2NE1's album will be released on February 24. YG also gave a notice of the confrontation through its official twitter account.

After then, Girls' Generation delayed its comeback by reason of music video's loss of data problem, while 2NE1 also delayed the schedule. When two singers go head to head, it is usually considered advantageous to release album later than the competitor.

Well, through the war of nerves, it seems that YG and 2NE1 have obtained tangible benefits. The official told me, "It was a smart marketing strategy. 2NE1 raised the issue and succeeded in attracting public attention."

Before 2014, 2NE1 was being closely followed by Sistar who made hits consecutively with its songs like 'Gone not around any longer' and 'Give it to me'. However, by going head to head with Girls' Generation, 2NE1 proved that it is the top level Kpop girl group.

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