Just How Did FIFTY FIFTY Break Onto Billboard? Korean Music Critic Explains All
The newest K-Pop sensation FIFTY FIFTY has been breaking all kinds of records this past month and fans have been delighted with the results. Seeing a new K-Pop girl group take the K-Pop industry by storm is always refreshing, but it’s even better when these accolades are gained in regions outside of South Korea as well. But how did FIFTY FIFTY’s hit song “Cupid” achieve such success? The internet has seen many theories circulate and popular music critic Kim Do Heon also seems to have his own.
Earlier this month, on April 8, FIFTY FIFTY achieved what seemed impossible when they entered the Billboard Hot 100 ranking. The viral song “Cupid” ranked 94th, making them the faster K-Pop group to enter the chart, 4 months after their debut with The Fifty, surpassing Newjeans, BTS, Wonder Girls, TWICE, and BLACKPINK. The song has now been on the chart for almost a month, peaking higher with each passing week.
[📊] #FIFTYFIFTY has reached a NEW PEAK on the BILLBOARD HOT 100 at #85 (+9), remaining for the third straight week on the chart!#피프티피프티_큐피드_축하해#FIFTYFIFTY_Cupid pic.twitter.com/uPmmBlvR9Y
— Fifty Fifty Charts (@FiftyCharts) April 11, 2023
“Cupid” has been adding Spotify achievements to their already impressive roster with the song’s English version “Cupid – Twin Version” continuing to climb on various Spotify rankings, such as its Global chart or the Daily Top ranking.
FIFTY FIFTY's "Cupid – Twin Version" enters the top 10 on the global Spotify chart for the first time ever at #8 with 3.4 million streams (@we_fiftyfifty). pic.twitter.com/74mIfI1c8H
— chart data (@chartdata) April 10, 2023
[📈] • "CUPID" now holds the record for the highest peak (#8) for a 4th generation k-pop song on spotify daily top songs global, surpassing "DITTO" by NewJeans (#9) 🥳🎉❤️#FIFTYFIFTY #TheBeginning #Cupid #피프티피프티 #큐피드 @we_fiftyfifty pic.twitter.com/tUUQY3IRWj
— Fifty Fifty Charts || #CUPID 💘 (@FiftyFiftyChart) April 10, 2023
Following the song blowing up on TikTok, with multiple influencers using the track as background music for their video content, many speculated that FIFTY FIFTY’s “Cupid” owes most of its success to the platform. However, music critic Kim Do Heon thinks differently.
In the K-Pop scene, basically, only dance or lyric challenges utilize short platforms, but this is a minor marketing method that was used around 2019.
— Kim Do Heon
#FIFTYvod 🐯🦊도 도전한 큐피드 손댄스 챌린지✌️✌️🏹 #FIFTYFIFTY #TheBeginning #Cupid #피프티피프티 #큐피드 #KEENA #SIO #키나 #시오 #큐피드챌린지 #Cupidchallenge #큐피드손댄스 #Cupid손댄스
Kim explained that short platforms, such as TikTok or YouTube Shorts, have been mainly utilized by K-Pop artists to popularise lyrics or dance challenges. While “Cupid” is the first song to properly go viral on the music scene, the music critic says that the song isn’t only popular because it went viral. According to Kim, there were various factors that made the song able to break so many records.
He went on to explain that the song itself is well-made and easy to listen to, with no parts that are “too much” and graceful vocals.
Especially since the English version doesn’t have rap and the lyrics are completely in English, it wasn’t too much. Also, since it’s a well-made pop [song] that can be modified, these factors influenced it to go viral.
— Kim Do Heon
Other than “Cupid” being a well-made pop song that’s easy on the ears, Kim also awards its popularity to the fact that it’s simply a good song. He says that FIFTY FIFTY and their label ATTRAKT didn’t make “Cupid” go viral just because they intended to do so, rather, they made a good song and it worked out perfectly.
However, you don’t go viral just because you intend it to. They didn’t go viral because they thought, ‘Let’s try to go viral on TikTok.’ FIFTY FIFTY didn’t think that way and instead created good music, which was what worked out well.
— Kim Do Heon