If you're new to K-pop, the world of fandom culture might be a bit overwhelming. We recently created a guide to K-pop fandom language (from aegyo to "visual"), but stan twitter (and the rest of social media) isn't the only place you can find fellow fans. In case it isn't obvious, editors at Cosmo.ph eat, sleep, and breathe K-pop. We all have different tastes, and we may have started stanning in different eras (yours truly is a proud 2nd Gen fan) but one thing we have in common is the apps on our phone.
Apps are extremely helpful in expanding your fan "bubble" of friends. From online communities to exclusive content, there's so much more to discover. Here's a list of essential starter apps to download before you dive deeper into the Hallyu world:
1. V LIVE
What'll soon be your go-to streaming app, V LIVE allows celebrities to upload live chat sessions and performances to engage with their fans. Companies also share episodes of idol reality shows that air exclusively on the app, and you can buy tickets to watch online concerts by your favorite group.
An internet-based fan community originally launched by SM Entertainment, LYSN hosts official communities of all SM artists. Join your fellow fans in interacting with idols on the fan forum board, read notices posted by staff to stay updated on the latest schedules, and if you have the money to spend, become an 'ACE' member (paid membership) to get access to exclusive content.
LYSN also has a messaging service called "Bubble" (you're charged a monthly fee per member you subscribe to), which allows fans to send and receive messages from their fave idols. Some idols are incredibly chatty, so be prepared to wake up to 20+ notifications from their chat! Other companies have followed suit, so you can also subscribe to artists from JYP, FNC, or JELLYFISH Entertainment.
A fan community platform originally meant for BigHit Entertainment artists (BTS, TXT), the fan community has now expanded to include PLEDIS' NU'EST and Seventeen, and artists like GFriend, CL, ENHYPEN, Cherry Bullet, Dreamcatcher, Weeekly, Henry, and Sunmi. You can also download the Weverse Shop and buy official merch!
The OG fan community, join communities on K-Pop Amino to interact with fellow fans! From quizzes, to games, to fan accounts of people meeting their actual idols, there's loads of fun content for everyone to enjoy. If you're new to K-pop, make use of the wiki entries and read up on your fave's history. Log in at screening rooms and watch videos together while chatting with friends, or vote on the most random K-pop related topics!
Want to know the meaning of a specific Korean phrase? Meet Papago, your go-to translation guide. Whether it's through a voice recording, copy-pasted text message, or even scanning a photo or television screen, the app will provide helpful and (mostly) reliable translations on the spot. Remember: It's still technology, so it won't be up to par with a native speaker, but it's incredibly helpful for conversational Korean!
6. KakaoTalk (and KakaoStory)
You've probably seen the adorable stickers being used somewhere, and that's because KakaoTalk is one of the (if not the) most popular free instant messaging apps in South Korea. Use the "Plus Friend" feature to follow your fave Hallyu celebs and receive exclusive messages from them—or follow brands and get first dibs on coupons! If you like Instagram Stories, don't forget to download KakaoStory.
7. SuperStar SM
How well do you ~really~ know the melodies of your fave K-Pop songs? Put your knowledge (and speedy fingers) to the test by playing SuperStar SM! The goal of the rythm game is to complete each song at three different levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard. Tap the colored buttons at the precise time to earn that 'perfect' score—keep earning 'perfects' for bonus points, and don't forget to collect all the virtual photocards!
Don't worry if you're not an SM fan—there are also versions for YG, JYPNATION, STARSHIP, GFRIEND, WOOLLIM, and FNC!
Been watching a lot of online concerts recently? Has your lightstick just been gathering dust on your bookshelf? The Wyth app will be your new best friend—use bluetooth and connect to the app during the next official SM concert event, and watch the lights change color automatically. You and thousands of other fans all over the world will feel like you're attending a live concert in the comfort of your own room!
Where there's music, there are music charts and ranking battles. In order to support their faves, fans stay up to date on all the voting apps, especially during comeback season. From apps that help idols win at music shows, to fan-voted popularity awards, to actual bonsangs (main awards) at the end of the year awards shows, it's time to earn hearts (and more!) on these apps:
What it's for: charity events, awards shows like The Soribada Best K-Music Awards
What it's for: MBC's Show! Music Core music show wins, promotional voting polls
What it's for: MBC's Show Champion music show wins, comeback music video promotion ads
What it's for: SBS' The Show
5. FAN N STAR
What it's for: popularity awards through fan voting, awards shows like The Fact Music Awards (TMA)
What it's for: SBS' Inkigayo music show wins
What it's for: Mnet's M! Countdown music show wins
Are you a fan of K-pop? Let us know your fave idol group or soloist in the comments section!
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