It has been a week since T-ARA made its comeback.
Since the departure of Hwayoung, T-ARA has been suffering backlash from their bullying controversy. Everything was scrutinized, from their Twitter accounts to witness testimonies. Eunjung was suddenly replaced of the drama that she had originally been preparing and there were allegations that T-ARA's apology was fabricated and not written by them. However, despite all the bad press, they came back as a 7-member group on September 6, with their new song, "Sexy Love."
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So let's look how they've been doing for the past week.
On September 3, T-ARA released their 7th mini album, Mirage. The group released 4 different versions of the "Sexy Love" music video and another music video for their next song, "Day and Night." The music video recorded 2,000,000 views on the day of release and now it's currently #2 on the Gom TV music chart.
Some reported that the internet users rated it 0.5 points out of 5, saying that the quality of the album is abysmal, but however the record is also doing well. It has been 10 days since the release of "Sexy Love," but it is currently #4 on the Bugs Chart and is staying within the top 10 on most of the major music charts in Korea.
In addition, their album sales are holding steady. Pre-orders for their album recorded 50,000 on September 10 and in 4 days 4,798 more albums were sold, scoring #1 on the Hanteo Chart.
Though they might be scoring well, the controversies are continuing.
First is the "little T-ARA" controversy. On Mnet's "M Countdown," they were planning on doing a performance with a little T-ARA but the title "Sexy Love" does not apply to a much younger version of the T-ARA members and the robot dance is not suitable for younger girls. Core Contents Media said that T-ARA would not be performing "Sexy Love" with little T-ARA but as the talk continued, they canceled the planned collaboration.
The two other controversies include the 'Ten Minute' and 'No Effort Performance' talks.
At the 2012 World Conservation K-Pop Concert, T-ARA did a rendition of "Sexy Love," but the audiences were not reacting to them at all. Instead of screams and cheers, there was approximately 10 minutes of a silent treatment, which is referred as 'Ten Minutes.' Then to that people were asking if that lack of response was what ended up cutting their performance short, which led to the lack of effort on the part of the band. The management company explained, "Because of the flight time, we were only able to do one song instead of the 2 that we had planned to do."
From negative feedback to the abominable 'ten minutes,' the reaction to T-ARA's comeback from the fans is chilling. As slightly outrageous allegations continue, T-ARA faces even more challenges and the blunt of punishment. One would think that this would slow their commercial success but it has not. It's clear that though people are talking badly about the band, they're still listening to their music and watching their music videos.
One insider said, "This was a good example of noise marketing. The T-ARA controversy was talked about everywhere and even the people who didn't know about T-ARA now knew them by name. Even from curiosity, they must have listened to their songs and watched the music video."
Another said, "Online and offline are often very different stories. A lot of negative responders and angry fans love to frequent the online websites and post negative replies to things but most people might still be waiting for their new songs and that's why they're listening." Many users are known to listen to the top 50 or top 100 songs on a music chart, so they might be able to continue to hold their place.
The internet users' responses should not be taken at 100% face value. It has only been a month since the controversy broke out so this was expected. Perhaps as time goes, the song's popularity could rise.
One should also note that their popularity abroad is not dying down. Their showcase that will take place on September 18 in Hong Kong has already sold all of its 3,000 seats. They're considering adding 500~1,000 more seats because of increased demand. Their Europe-special album, which will be released on the 25th and only 7,000 copies were scheduled to be made, has already recorded pre-orders of 65,000 from foreign countries.
This kind of press and popularity seem positive for T-ARA who will begin their international run very soon.