[EXCLUSIVE] Interview: 20 Questions with Nugupromoter

"Promoting underrated K-pop girl groups and bringing you the latest news."

I recently got the opportunity to sit down and interview with a notable figure in the K-pop Twitter community in this ongoing interview series.

Nearing 35,000 followers on their Twitter profile, they've easily become one of the most influential figures in promoting many of K-pop's smaller and lesser-known groups.

Today, we talk with the team behind Nugupromoter from Twitter, in an exclusive interview covering their frank discussion of the disadvantages of smaller groups within the South Korean music industry, the sense of community that comes with being a member of a "nugu" fandom, as well as their coverage of relatively unknown groups and songs, and how they promote to new and emerging audiences.

To start off with, as I do with everyone, I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to go through this interview with us! Your Twitter profile promoting some of the most underrated girl groups in K-pop has gone on to become more popular and influential than some of the groups you promote. But for those readers who may not have heard of yourselves or your work before, would you like to start by introducing yourselves and discussing a little about the nugu promoter project?

Nugupromoter: First of all, thank you so much for the opportunity and for showing interest! We started this account as a joke in the sense that we didn't take it that seriously but, we realised that the response started to get huge and kept doing our best to grow. We wanted to create a platform for lesser-known girl groups because we always talked about how other big K-pop platforms barely talked about them. And, since we all love these groups, we really wanted to recommend our favourite groups / songs to a bigger audience.

As always, to begin with, I thought we might cover a few quick-fire questions to get to know the team a little better. So, who is your favourite K-pop group or soloist, and why?

Nugupromoter: In my case, I really like soloist YOUHA, her vocals and songs are amazing so I recommend everyone to check her out. Some groups I love are woo!ah!, BerryGood, HELLOVENUS, DalShabet, STELLAR, FAVORITE and many more. (It's hard to name just a few because there's so many *laughs*)

Which K-pop group or soloist do you think is the most underrated or underappreciated by K-pop stans?

Nugupromoter: This is a very hard question because there's so many but a soloist I love is LOHYE, she just debuted and has released two songs so far: 'Clarity' and 'To Love Somebody Else', both are amazing songs I recommend everyone to check out. And, a group I consider criminally underrated is LUNARSOLAR, they have everything to go very popular but sadly haven't yet.

What is your earliest K-pop memory, and how did you get into the K-pop fandom to begin with?

Nugupromoter: We have a lot of admins so we each have a different story, but in my case I've liked K-pop since around 2012, I discovered Girls' Generation, 2NE1, SISTAR, HyunA, 4Minute and so many more girl groups and started stanning them because I loved their music and concepts.

If you could sit down to a private dinner with one idol where you could talk about anything you wanted, who would it be and why?

Nugupromoter: I would sit down with LABOUM's Soyeon and talk about her dedication to the group, since we know she has composed and written many of their songs.

And one last quick-fire question, what K-pop song are you currently playing on repeat, and why?

Nugupromoter: If we are talking about "nugu" or underrated girl groups, I've been obsessed with "PUO PUO" by MINIMANI and "Whispering" by soloist Kim Hanbyeol.

Thank you for going through those rapid-fire questions with me. Now, it's time to get a little more in-depth. With a steadily growing profile, and almost 35,000 followers to date, the Nugupromoter team is fast on its way to becoming one of the more recognisable profiles in the Twitter K-pop community. What is it about your profile and the work that your team does that you think has K-pop fans gravitate towards it?

Nugupromoter: A lot of people like discovering new groups and music to listen to. I think that's what has helped us gain a following so fast! We are very grateful for everything.

Many K-pop fans may have never even heard of the term "nugu". When smaller entertainment agencies debut an act, they are often referred to as "nugu groups", where "nugu" is Korean for "who", but also used to describe someone as a nobody. How does the Nugupromoter team define a "nugu" group?

Nugupromoter: We are aware that the term has a rather negative connotation, but we also want to remove the stigma towards the word a little bit. We use it to imply that they're very underrated. A nugu group is usually a group that sells less than 15,000 albums, barely / doesn't chart, and has low views / followers / streams.

With so many groups and individuals debuting in the South Korean music industry every year (and more than 110 debuts in both 2020 and 2021 each), many of these "nugu" groups go completely unnoticed by the general K-pop public. In fact, many of these groups never even make official announcements when they disband, leading to followers on your Twitter profile finding out from yourselves at these changes. Do you think that the South Korean music industry is over-saturated with too many debuting and pre-existing groups for many of these groups to find success?

Nugupromoter: It is definitely over-saturated. Especially because companies debut groups without planning it carefully when they don't have enough funds to even give them the bare minimum.

The Nugupromoters profile has a few ongoing series of promotions, including "Underrated song of the day" and "Disbanded girl group of the day". How successful have these series been in bringing new audiences to these songs and groups? And what sort of reaction have you received from people who were already fans of these songs and groups beforehand?

Nugupromoter: Well I think these series have brought a lot of new fans to the artists! We receive DMs from people everyday telling us how they discovered a new group/songs because of us! It makes us so happy :)

Some of the tweets have gone viral and these artists have gotten lots of recognition going up 1k-3k monthly listeners on Spotify in just a few days!

What do you believe is a necessary component for a "nugu" group to shoot to stardom, and do you think that every group is capable of this?

Nugupromoter: If I'm being honest, not everyone is capable of going viral / popular, but I believe most "nugu" groups just need better management and a higher budget to do so. They already have talented members and good music, but most lack in management.

Out of the "nugu" girl groups that you actively promote on your feed, which of them do you believe would be the closest to achieving more relatively successful fame both in South Korea and internationally, and why do you think it would be this group over others?

Nugupromoter: There are a lot of groups that we're very hopeful about. One of them is woo!ah!, we've seen that they have a stable and rising fanbase in Korea which is also growing internationally. They have good music and the girls are really talented. Their company, NV Entertainment, has been doing their job very decently, so it's only a matter of time until they go viral. Their sales have also been going up each comeback.

Being a fan of a smaller and less recognisable group is very clearly different from being a part of some of the larger fandoms out there (such as ARMYs and BLINKs). Many people mention the feeling of the sense of community within these fandoms, often finding them to be some of the calmest and nicest fandoms when it comes to the world of K-pop. What, in particular, do you think is a major difference between the fandoms of "nugu" groups and their larger counterparts?

Nugupromoter: I think the biggest difference is that everyone knows each other. And, the community is definitely calmer and less toxic. Also, for small fandoms, it's usually way easier to interact with the artists.

What is it about these smaller "nugu" groups that attracts you into following them? Is it based purely on their music, the personalities of the members, or sometimes the followings that they have?

Nugupromoter: We don't consider a group good just because they're not popular, so we only care if their music is good, basically! There's a lot of hidden gems in the industry.

The "nugu promoter" brand is not only one used on Twitter, but also has profiles on YouTube and TikTok. Each of these profiles provides different services for fans. Would you be able to give us a rundown on which platforms are used to provide which services, and who the target audiences of each of these platforms is?

Nugupromoter: We started making content on TikTok pretty recently and the response has been amazing! We realised that TikTok really does give you a bigger reach and is very beneficial for people to find new groups. Our Instagram has also been doing very well! We realised that on TikTok and Instagram short videos usually perform the best! On YouTube we've only been posting our video interviews.

The Nugupromoter brand is not run by a single person, but by a team. How do you coordinate running the profiles to ensure no double-up of content? Do members have groups they're in charge of, or certain aspects that are their responsibility?

Nugupromoter: Sometimes it's hard because we've posted the same thing at the same time a LOT of times *laughs* but for the most part, we organise very well. No one has an assigned role so everyone helps in everything they are able to.

Speaking on the team aspect of Nugupromoter, how did the members come to join the group? Did you all know each other prior and choose to make the profile collaboratively, or have you actively seeked out members to join over time?

Nugupromoter: We were all "mutuals" on Twitter and stanned a lot of "nugu" girl groups and we all realised that there weren't any accounts providing content for them. We also realised we could give them more reach if we created an account for them. Some people in the team joined afterwards, but most of us created the account collaboratively.

What is one major way in which you would like to see Nugupromoter grow in the future?

Nugupromoter: So far, we haven't made any money, so there's a limited amount of stuff we can do. So, in the future, we want to find a way to monetise what we do and do bigger stuff like online / live events, better interviews with idols, recording exclusively variety content and more.

In the past, when we have interviewed K-pop YouTubers, business owners, dance troupes and groups, we have offered them the opportunity to promote another member of the K-pop community they think should received more recognition from the K-pop fandom. We thought we'd extend the same invitation to yourselves. So, if there was another important figure in the K-pop community that you would recommend for people to check out, who would it be and why?

Nugupromoter: I would love to recommend K-pop YouTuber Sera Ryu, she's also a former member of the girl group 9MUSES. She usually does interviews and video reactions to underrated girl groups.

Thank you so much for taking the time to go through this interview with us! For one final question, do you have any news, sneak preview information, or anything else at all you would like to share with your fans?

Nugupromoter: Thank you again for the interest. As of now, we don't really have any news to share. We want to thank everyone for the huge support we've been receiving and ask you to support us on our social media accounts: @nugupromoter on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, and @nugupromoters on TikTok.

Once again, we here at KpopWise would like to thank the team from Nugupromoter for taking the time out of their busy schedule to interview with us today.

Ford Carter

Ford Carter is an online blogger studying journalism who's hundreds of articles across half a dozen fansites from the music and television industries have now been read more than 300,000 times. From his home in regional Australia, you'll often find him binging kdramas or rewatching old editions of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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