I should start thinking about fandom name… or is it too early? lol
Not too long ago I held a poll on my Twitter page (go follow me at @RantingRina if you haven’t yet!) about what next I should post on the blog after my return from hiatus announcement, and most votes went to showing my official K-pop merch collection! I mean, who doesn’t like seeing shelves full of albums and other possible merch? Amirite?
So let’s just dive into my K-pop collection! And I also will tell you some tips on how I purchase albums and official merchandise~
When it comes to evaluating my K-pop collection, I usually try not to flash much, and I also don’t think my collection is enormous. There are many K-pop fans that own much bigger amount of official items than I do (just type “k-pop collection” on YouTube, and you’ll get videos of room tours), but I also wouldn’t say that my treasure chest is tiny. Technically, you can’t call 100+ albums in possession a “small collection”, right?
First, I’m gonna show you all the albums and other official items I have from all groups I support, split into boy groups, girl groups and soloists categories, and then there’s gonna be a separate paragraph for everything NU’EST that I own, because, you know, I’m a massive L.O.Λ.E, and as one, I can’t help myself but collect almost everything from my favorite group! Shall we start?
I used to be not the biggest boy group supporter until SHINee happened. My playlist used to be full of girl group releases, but I’ve noticed that lately I add more boy group songs to my Spotify library, and I enjoy the diversity of genres I have in my playlist, despite having a certain sound preference.
The group with biggest amount of albums I own (including solos) goes to my first ever boy group, SHINee (right after NU’EST, of course). I knew about them since Ring Ding Dong and Lucifer, but they truly captured me in between Sherlock and Dream Girl era. First SHINee album I owned were Misconceptions series, and I intentionally didn’t get the repackage, because I usually choose to get either the original album OR the repackage, never both together. Despite being one of the group I fully “stan”, I don’t own all of their albums, and I don’t feel bad about it, to be honest. You don’t have to buy every single version of every single release to prove yourself as a big fan.
Initially I wanted to own every first solo album from each member, but as time went on I thought that getting albums I personally enjoy in full is a better choice for me mentally and financially, so that’s why you don’t see ACE or BASE albums. But I do have a plan to get “She Is” EP after I gave it a full listen the other day.
P.S. So when will I get the chance to use the lightstick…?
Next comes my Wanna One mini-collection. I wasn’t that financially free to massively support both Wanna One and NU’EST W throughout 2017-2018, so I own only several albums from the project group. And that, I must say, I was very picky with albums I purchased. Despite their massive popularity in and outside Korea, the majority of the discography they were assigned to them made me only wish for a better. Especially the I.P.U. album… The only album I enjoyed from beginning to the end was their debut EP. Nothing Without You gave me my most favorite title track Beautiful, but very mediocre b-sides, while Undivided had a very disappointing Light as title track and amazing b-sides (also the album design of some version were astonishing!). I own Power of Destiny only for the reason of it being the final release from Wanna One before their contract expiration. I do enjoy Spring Breeze and some b-sides though.
Other boy group albums
I never thought that one day I’ll be collecting albums from several more artists aside from those I usually stan, but here we are, with releases from groups I thought I’d never get close to because they’re not my style, for instance, that one lonely BTS album I recently got.
I apologize for editing the pictures in the way you barely can see titles, but here’s what I have on the photo: EXO‘s Exodus (Chinese version) and 2017 Winter special albums, Rainz‘s Sunshine EP, Duetto‘s debut EP of the same name, Seventeen‘s Love & Letter and Going Seventeen albums, BTOB‘s Brother Act full album, JBJ‘s Fantasy EP, ONEUS‘ debut EP Light Us, BTS‘ Map of the Soul: Persona, and Longguo & Shihyun‘s the.the.the EP.
STAN. DREAMCATCHER. No, I’m not joking, literally check them out if you haven’t yet!
Before I was a K-pop fan, I was a massive lover of rock music, and especially rock music with female vocals. Mainly my interest went to symphonic metal groups like Within Temptation, Xandria, Nightwish, but that also spread onto classic J-rock artists like YUI and Scandal, so when I learned about a group that went full rock in their repertoire, I had to stan immediately. And Dreamcatcher almost never disappointed me with their title songs (judge me all you want, but I personally think You & I was their weakest one). I’m especially in love with their b-sides, they’re just as amazing as title tracks are (ironically, my most favorite Dreamcatcher songs lies in the same album with my least favorite title track). If you’re a female-vocal rock lover and you’ve been wanting to find a K-pop group that does it, these 7 ladies are exactly what you’ve been looking for.
There was a short period of my K-pop stan life when I was a big fan of MAMAMOO (that was around Piano Man through Yes I Am eras). Until now I’m never denying their endless talent, but at one point their “beagle-like” personality they were famous for started looking exaggerated to me, and so I slowly driven myself away from MooMoo community. As time went by, I found myself even more distanced when they completely stopped doing the kind of music I initially was in for, which is retro inspired concepts. I understand that groups need to evolve in order to survive in such a competitive market, but I can’t help but be sad knowing the original signature sound I was so hooked on fully disappeared from their following releases. Nonetheless, Gentleman (feat. eSNa) remains my top favorite song from them. Definitely give it a listen.
This… definitely doesn’t look like I’ve been a MeU for 7 years as of 2019, but what can I say… It’s hard to buy multiple copies of the same album for more than 1 artist, but I still try to collect all albums of groups I fully stan. I had a chance to pick up the missing ones while I was in Seoul this past April, but my luggage limit stopped me from getting more than 2 releases I’ve wanted to buy in the first place. Considering how SM didn’t bother about f(x) ever since 2015 (yes, I’ve seen news about Krystal finally joining for upcoming SM Town in Tokyo), I may need to complete my collection soon, before the worst news drop and SM completely hauls the production of their releases. My girls deserve so much more, SM, do you know that? You can’t give MeUs dust for f(x)‘s 10th anniversary this year, so do your job properly for the last damn time.
Other girl group albums
I didn’t realize until I took pictures on a day off that I don’t have lone albums of other girl groups aside from those I fully stan(ned), like I do with boy groups. And so this photo only consists of 2 OH MY GIRL albums + their official lightstick (which is a total eye candy!) and Good Day‘s debut EP. C9, you’re losing way too much by not giving any updates on Good Day ever since they debuted in 2017.
I’ve been planning to fully stan OH MY GIRL, but I realized that I wasn’t too invested in watching their non-music content, so I remained on the stage of observing their releases but not fully investing. Although, as you can see, it was impossible to resist this beautiful lightstick. And luckily, I got to use it on the very same trip to Seoul this April, as I attended their 3rd anniversary fanmeeting.
I belatedly realized that I should’ve included Yoon Jisung’s solo into Wanna One pile, but… oops.
My solo artist album collection used to be bigger, with the full set of Roy Kim’s releases, which, unfortunately, I had to get rid of (and by “getting rid of” I mean throwing it away and not selling) due to his controversy. I inlcuded AKMU’s debut album into this category because they didn’t fit anywhere else, and I didn’t want to have a separate paragraph just for their release.
At some point I do consider myself as an Uaena (IU’s fandom name), but up until now I’m contemplated about getting her Palette album. When I was in South Korea, I saw the limited edition of her 2013 Modern Times album, which I considered as the top masterpiece of all albums I own, and I was really tempted to buy it, but I wasn’t really ready to throw out 35,000 KRW. I’ll still put in onto my wishlist, maybe one day I’ll realize that I still want to own it.
Other albums that I own are: Eric Nam‘s Honestly, BoA‘s One Shot, Two Shot EP, Yoon Jisung‘s Aside EP, Sunmi‘s Warning, Jang Moonbok (VOK) Peeps EP, and AKMU‘s Play.
Now we are moving onto the major part of my K-pop collection. If you look at the very first photo of this blog post, you can see that NU’EST takes over half of my possessions. That… shouldn’t be surprising about me, since I’m a L.O.Λ.E, right? Anyways, let me show you what I have on that whole shelf.
Happily Ever After was my first ever NU’EST OT5 comeback as a fully pledged L.O.Λ.E, and, unfortunately, due to life reasons and some financial difficulties, I wasn’t able to bulk buy more copies as I used to do during NU’EST W eras, but the amount of albums bought shouldn’t dictate how big or small you are of a fan, right?
I’m specifically proud to be one of those lucky people to obtain a copy of I’m Bad special album, which was the limited release for NU’EST 3rd anniversary. There are only 5000 copies in the world, can you believe that?? I was more than lucky to find a person to buy it from for an acceptable price, and I was double lucky to find out that the copy I obtained had a hand signed postcard from Aron (all 5000 copies have live signatures of members on their respective postcards), who’s my ultimate male bias. Although I’m very fond of that EP, my most favorite album in terms of photobook content is Re:Birth. Google up to know why 😉
P.S. Can I also say how much I dig Happily Ever After‘s color scheme because it’s such a huge unintentional homage to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts houses ❤
I joined NU’EST fandom during Produce 101, and my first comeback was during sub-unit promotion, and, as many other new L.O.Λ.Es, I was determined to guarantee my boys their long-deserved flowery path. During first two comebacks I bought 8-10 copies of their EPs, which you can see on the picture, and I even got the signed album from Mwave (hand signed by JR, by the way). Wake,N release happened during my hard times, and I was only able to buy two full sets instead of at least 4 I would usually go for because I intend to want to get all members collectives (which I actually did with both W,Here and Who You EPs). But at this point of time I’m considering to donate most of the extra copies as part of my moving preparation, which, I think, is a good decision. I’ve completed my “mission” on getting the “dragon ball” (a term used by k-fans to describe the stage of collecting all members collectives of one specific album release) for all three EPs, so now it’s a good time to reduce this stack to 1 copy per each version, with the collectives of my ultimate bias.
My NU’EST non-album merchandise collection can be briefly separated into two categories: stuff released by Pledis itself, and items released by partners.
My official Pledis-released merch collection consist of: NU’EST W‘s Double You in Seoul concert DVD, two NU’EST W‘s official lightsticks, one NU’EST official lightstick (which I already decorated to the core), Waiting Q special photobook released for NU’EST‘s 2000 day anniversary, and a photocard binder with official trading cards from both Segno in Seoul (NU’EST) and Double You Final in Seoul (NU’EST W) concerts. I also own NU’EST W‘s 2018 season greetings, which I completely forgot to display on the photo (because I store it at completely another place from the rest of my collection), and the box kit from official membership (which I use to store letters from my friends and tickets from attended events).
Stuff I own from Pledis partners (? is that how you should call them) mainly consist of magazines and photobooks, which include several editions of 1st Look and Star1 magazines, as well as Makestar‘s photobook, Dispatch photobook and INDEED magazine with Baekho on the cover. There’s a photo essay from Mnet going on sale now, so I’ll be getting that one as well (once the regular sales start on June 19th), and two Chinese magazines featuring Aron are on their way to my house. I also own several bromides from brands NU’EST endorses, but I didn’t display them here because they’re quite small, and it’s not easy to take a full shot of them. ^^; I also have excerpts from their first OT5 interview on Elle magazine, which I had to rip off because the issue itself was too heavy, and I was already going overweight with my luggage when I was returning from Seoul.
Tips on buying K-pop merchandise
If you are financially capable of hoarding on many artists and eventually want to support them by buying their physical albums without heavily suffering from shipping fees, these tips might be for you.
Tip 1: If there are trusted Group order managers in your country, definitely go order from them. Mass order = less shipping fee from South Korea.
Extra note: There is also such thing as “fansite sales”, which is when you’re buying an album for a discounted price from fansites that purchased them first to apply for fansign events. Those albums arrive much later than regular pre-orders/orders, but at least you save quite a lot if you planned to bulk buy and aren’t keen on deadlines. However, its biggest downside is that such purchases do not contribute to your idol’s overall sales. For example, if you buy directly 10 copies from shops, and a fansite buys 500, the total contribution to sales is 510 copies, but if you buy it off from a fansite, the added amount to overall sales will remain 500, because you didn’t buy it from the direct distributor. Usually such method isn’t favorably looked upon, especially during 1st week sales. But for some fans (especially students with limited budget) it’s a good way to save up extra money.
Tip 2: If you’re not the type to join group orders (like I am) and prefer to order and control things on your own, then my biggest advice would be to pile up your order. Especially when you live far away from South Korea (I mean, further than Asia), paying a huge chunk of money on shipping is never a good thing, but don’t you agree that paying $25 for a $110 album order is much more practical than paying $11 fee for a single $15 copy? If you’re keen on contributing to your bias’ sales during the promotion period and can’t wait until you fill the cart, then consider buying multiple copies of the same album. It means bigger contribution to overall sales AND higher chances for you to get your favorite collectibles (especially when we entered the era of multiple versions of K-pop releases). The disadvantage of this method is, obviously, higher shipping fees because you have no one to share them with.
Extra note: I highly advise you to also do a research on your local import taxes. Some countries might think that you are bulk buying albums (a.k.a. when you buy multiple copies of the same album) for commercial purposes, and apply import taxes over your purchase. Keep in mind the maximum amount of same release copies you are allowed to order to not cast extra payments upon your budget. I fell for that trap twice, and now I have to split my orders in order to avoid it.
Tip 3: If you’re buying multiple amount of the same album from synnara shop (directly on its website or via Gmarket affiliation), there are high chances your order will be picked up from the same warehouse box, which leads to you getting almost identical collectibles (photocards, CD plates, etc). YES24, on the other hand, tries to help you getting different inclusive items (of course, it’s not guaranteed because all albums are sealed), so maybe it’s wiser to buy off from several trusted shops that count towards Gaon and Hanteo charts (usually notices from staff account of your bias artist will mention shops that contribute to those charts: synnara, Interpark, YES24, etc.). Yes, you may have to pay a bit more, but you also might save your own time trading extra items.
Tip 4: If you’re buying albums from different artist, try to get them from the same seller. It saves a lot of time waiting for items to get shipped to the warehouse for packaging and shipping, also, of course, it saves you extra money on flat rate shipping fees. Let’s admit, paying $12 for an order from synnara is much nicer than paying $7 from synnara and $7 from YES24/Interpark/other trusted shops.
Tip 5: If you’re a Gmarket user, always remember to check out their membership zone – they frequently have discount codes applicable to your massive K-pop item orders. Who doesn’t like a discount? 😉
Well, that was a long one. I hope you didn’t get too bored reading this. Let me know if you find the tips helpful, and also comment if you have any other tips on getting K-pop merchandises. See you next time!