SM Entertainment, one of South Korea’s titan music agencies, recently sent waves of both excitement and concern among fans with the announcement of a slew of comebacks from its top-tier artists slated within a narrow timeframe. The jam-packed schedule kicks off in late October and stretches across November to December, featuring seven major comebacks that spotlight both group and solo artists.
The budding group RIIZE is set to mark their first comeback either on October 26 or 27, as hinted by the members. Next, SHINee’s Taemin — fresh from his military discharge — will grace the music scene once again with his mini-album Guilty on October 30. WayV isn’t far behind, with their second full album, On My Youth, dropping on November 1.
TAEMIN 태민 The 4th Mini Album 'Guilty'
💿Pre-order from the link below!
〖Guilty – The 4th Mini Album〗
➫ 2023.10.30 6PM KST… pic.twitter.com/LZv7T5zE7G
— SHINee (@SHINee) October 10, 2023
Meanwhile, rookie phenom aespa is slated to unveil their mini-album Drama on November 10. Red Velvet’s highly anticipated third full album is also in the pipeline for a November release. Although a specific date remains under wraps, fans are certain it will be soon after aespa.
Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon is also making a solo comeback in November, with details about the album format yet to be revealed. Rounding off the lineup, TVXQ is set to celebrate their 20-year milestone with a new album in December. Adding to this roster could be a follow-up of last year’s family Winter album, 2022 Winter SM Town: SMCU Palace, with all artists participating in the tracklist.
While these announcements should typically send fans over the moon, the overabundance of releases within such a short span has raised eyebrows and concerns instead. The core issues boil down to a few critical areas.
they failed to mention all 41 would release in november https://t.co/gvao1hSW0t
— 🐦⬛ (@ashfixation) October 14, 2023
Firstly, the challenge of album production and distribution looms large. SM Entertainment has faced hurdles in the past with stocking enough albums to meet the fan demand. The current ambitious schedule threatens to exacerbate this issue, potentially leaving fans empty-handed and frustrated.
i'm sorry but did sm under stock these albums at target, barnes&noble, walmart etc……. bc why is every place i'm going to telling me they didn't receive that much shipment 🥲
— 밈🍑 (@14aehyun) October 7, 2023
we technically only had 2 versions of the photobook to order for most of the preorder period because the cake version was out of stock the entire time and album details were only posted 4 days before the comeback? yet rv still managed to hit 712k preorders
— 🎂 (@baechurenes) November 28, 2022
Secondly, the staffing constraints could significantly hinder the promotional activities for each artist. With numerous comebacks clustered together, the fear is that there might not be enough staff to ensure adequate promotions for all artists involved. This could dilute the promotional efforts and impact the artists’ chart performances, overshadowing what should be a triumphant period for them and their fans.
my sincere wayv comeback expectations from sm: at least TWO days of promotion, THIRTY minutes of pre-orders, minimum ONE album version, PLEASE have a mv, THREE bsides, A SINGLE concept photo per member
— laura #OnMyYouth (@wayvpixy) October 12, 2023
sm had 12 months to plan out and evenly disperse 40 comebacks but instead they had to put out 1/8 of them during RV3… pic.twitter.com/xWjz6PWRfG
— ❦ ☔️ (@AWHlTENIGHT) October 13, 2023
Additionally, fans worry about the potential overshadowing of their favorite artists by others in the SM Entertainment roster, given the cramped schedule. Each artist or group deserves a spotlight that a more spread-out schedule could provide.
sm squeezing everybody’s comebacks at the end of the year as usual pic.twitter.com/Q8J6KihR9P
— tay 🎫 (@thisrainstops) September 28, 2023
The amount of sm artist comebacks happening pic.twitter.com/pPNFfiEH8X
— Anna🍖| Harvard Fact Checker🕵🏾♀️ (@strawbrry_Baek) October 15, 2023
Furthermore, the financial strain on fans is not to be overlooked. The cost of supporting their favorite artists through album purchases, concert tickets, and merchandise can add up quickly, and with the avalanche of comebacks, fans might find themselves having to pick and choose whom to support.
aespa, taemin, wayv, rv, and taeyeon comeback on nov???? damn you're crazy @SMTOWNGLOBAL
— ck. (@jenrinasimp) October 15, 2023
While the string of comebacks from SM Entertainment is a testament to its vibrant and diverse artist roster, the compact scheduling raises valid concerns among fans. The balance between keeping the momentum going for artists and ensuring a fulfilling fan experience is a delicate one, and SM Entertainment might need to re-evaluate its strategy to ensure both its artists and their ardent fans come out winners in this comeback marathon.