NewJeans had one of the most successful debuts in K-Pop history. At only a few weeks old, they already topped digital charts, sold hundreds of thousands of albums in their first week, won first place on music shows even after the end of their promotions, and more.
There is one main company that can take pride in its success. Though NewJeans is considered a girl group under HYBE—the company that directly houses the likes of BTS, TXT, and ENHYPEN—it is technically managed by its subsidiary, ADOR.
The CEO of ADOR, Min Hee Jin, discussed her relationship with HYBE in a new interview with Billboard. She first expressed her gratitude at being given the opportunity to fulfill her dream of leading a label that “puts out all kinds of radically different music.” It was because of this promise of freedom that she left her job as the Creative Director of SM Entertainment to start anew.
In the same way, it was also why she was fine with not being given a helping hand from HYBE when planning the debut of NewJeans, her first group. In fact, she revealed that they did not give any input at all from the planning stage until the debut stage.
Billboard: What went into NewJeans’ unorthodox debut in releasing the music and music videos ahead of the album release as well as having three singles? Did you have discussions about the strategy with HYBE?
Min Hee Jin: ADOR is a label that started with guaranteed autonomy, so it has no ties with HYBE’s management.
HYBE was completely left in the dark about ADOR’s plans just like everyone else.
They actually didn’t have any knowledge about anything we were going to release up until the first music video was released on July 22. [Laughs.]
— Min Hee Jin
Rather than being miffed, Min Hee Jin and the rest of the planning team viewed their lack of involvement as a boon. By doing everything autonomously, the buzz around NewJeans had minimal mention of HYBE and more attention was given to their music quality. She expounded that they also did not need the extra publicity that the larger company would bring considering that netizens were already eagerly awaiting NewJeans’ debut.
That was a strategy we used to put all the focus purely on their music, since the buzz around ‘Min Hee Jin’s girl group’ was already so high.
— Min Hee Jin
It was a brazen plan that depended on ADOR’s strength in music production and overall project management skills. They were confident in both, even to the point of having not one, not two, but three title tracks in the form of “Attention,” “Hype Boy,” and “Cookie.”
That’s how confident I was in the four tracks on the EP, which is also the reason why we decided to have three lead singles. I’ve always felt that it’s such a pity how it’s the lead singles that get all the attention.
— Min Hee Jin
ADOR’s strategy of independence seemed to pay off, at least if NewJeans’ success is any indicator!