The wild world of K-pop and associated acts, issues and questions

All right. Let’s buckle up folks, because I have some questions to ask, all of it related to the crazy world of K-pop (and its many… many subgenres) and how others would handle these.

1. Bootlegs vs Recordings. Does the bootleg category include individual recordings of performances broadcast, such as covers or songs that don’t have ‘official’ releases?

  • Ateez’s performance on Kingdom of Rhythm Ta, a cover of iKon’s song of the same name - ripping the audio from the performance ([풀버전] ♬ 리듬 타 (The Awakening of Summer) - 에이티즈(ATEEZ) - YouTube) to listen to on my own, is this technically a bootleg or just a recording? Or should I bother with this at all since it was only a broadcast performance, which could be analogous to a live recording from the radio and not everyone has access to my file which I trimmed to remove dead air gaps? This was one of three performances on this particular episode of Kingdom: Legendary War, so should I add the other two in a collection, or an associated recording? (The other two were BTOB performing Back Door, and Stray Kids performing 기도 (Prayer, also called I’ll Be Your Man from the subtitle) these two groups swapping songs for the requirements of the round of challenges.)
  • Dreamcatcher’s cover of Chakra’s 한 (multiple translations, depends on which translator you’re asking, Dreamcatcher (드림캐쳐) - 한 (Come A Come) [Music Bank/2019.10.18] - YouTube) again, a special broadcast only performance, similar to the example of Ateez above.
  • This actually has a lot of similar examples from shows such as Immortal Songs, Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook, and Sugarman2.

2. Random one-off collaborations of artists, and artist collaborations made through shows.

  • Again, Kingdom: Legendary War related question. For the ‘No Limit’ episodes, the first section was a collaboration between 3 groups under a group name - Mayfly and It’s One, where they competed in 3 categories - rap, vocal, dance - where both of the rap units created original songs… but were never released even though master copies exist. (Yes I’m still salty about this, even a year later.) Well, okay - again, this relates up to the previous question - is this a bootleg? a recording? a work? but this also runs up against the fact that the unit performances only had certain members of each group, not the entire group itself. How is this handled in the database? Is this a ‘new artist,’ or is it added to an existing group, or is this needing to be added to each individual member of the unit as a… again, bootleg/recording/work?
  • Knowing Bros/Men on a Mission (this is what Netflix calls it, actual translation is ‘Ask bros anything’) collaboration ‘group’ between two of the hosts, Kim Heechul and Min Kyunghoon (yes, this is last name - first name nomenclature that I will use for Korean artists, who introduce themselves this way) under a sort of variable collaboration name of Universe Cowards/Universe Hipsters (wiki article: Universe Cowards - Wikipedia) they use to differentiate between what “genre” they’re doing for their song. Sweet Dreams is more of a ballad-type song, so they use the Universe Cowards, but for Hanryang, they used the Universe Hipsters name. Would this be considered an alias issue? Also, again, how to connect the group name to the individual artists? Heechul is a member of Super Junior, Kyunghoon is a member of Buzz, or should it just be under the “group” name (same as above with the Kingdom unit performances)? I ask because I noticed that in Queendom or Mixnine releases, the unit name is given as artist, but is this the case for every example?

3. Unofficial group units.
Listen, if you’ve heard of BTOB, you’ve heard of how crazy and crazy talented they are. Well for those of you who don’t know, two of the vocal members of this group decide to dress up (down?) in the occasional leotard, or flashy black shirts and colored boots and toy axes as their ‘alter-egos’ of Gold and Silver Axe (금도끼 & 은도끼 (KR) is their… subunit? name maybe?) and sing (amazingly well). They supposedly had plans for a trot style album, which was interrupted by their mandatory military service, and the album was either never completed, or completed and never released, no one is sure. However, they have performed what would have/could be the title track twice - once on a TV show and the second time at a K-pop concert when they suddenly had to improvise when another member was diagnosed with Covid not too long before the concert was being held. Would this be an unofficial release with the possibility of an actual release? A bootleg? A recording? Also would this subunit be added as a new artist?

Thanks for your time and answers. If anything is too confusing, please ask, I’ll try to find a different way to explain.


Many? I only know 2 subgenres:

  • Girls band
  • Boys band

Sorry it’s too hard to resist this lame joke! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


A performance that’s only available on youtube could be added as a standalone recording. A personal rip/edit from youtube should not be added since, as you note, only you have access to that particular version.

For the Universe Cowards example, it sounds to me like it would merit a “group” artist, which Universe Hipsters as an alias, and with Heechul and Min Kyunhoon having “member of” relationships. It’s enough of a “real” group to have a wikipedia entry and even won awards.

Arguably, Universe Cowards and Universe Hipsters could be considered different “projects” and be created as separate artists, but from your description and the wikipedia article I would go with the single artist with alias.


Hey now - don’t leave out the most important genre :rofl:

  1. Girl group
  2. Boy group
  3. Dreamcatcher

(yes I had to follow that joke with this one lol)

1 Like

Okay thank you so much for this! It’s really helpful and I’ll probably get to work on that later on today.

Do you have any hints for the third one, the unofficial subunit? Because the song (Nangman Oppa) has been performed in public and broadcasted, but the subunit isn’t officially listed as one of BTOB’s even if they have some legitimacy from one of the broadcasts where their alter ego names are given as the subunit name. Would that just be considered a project, because if enough fans start complaining to Cube, they might (?) give us that trot album, which would turn it into an official release?

It sounds like you could create a group, either with a “subgroup of” relationship to BTOB, or just with the two being members of both groups.

An artist doesn’t have to have releases in order to be valid in MB, as long as it has some sort of relationships.


welcome to the party, calarinda~

a Bootleg is just a release that hasn’t been approved by the artist and/or label. so if it’s a third-party posting the video, it’d be a bootleg. if that’s an official YouTube channel posting the video (the artist, label, or even the TV station or show), then I’d say it’s an official release. in fact, I’ve recently been adding releases for YouTube music videos, that way the recordings have release dates (an example: ウミユリ海底譚).

if it was recorded live, there are several ways to denote that, both on the release level and the recording level.

on subunits, there’s two options:

  1. if all the artists names are referenced in the name of the subunit, and it’s apparently a one-off group, you could credit the individual artists as their part of the subgroup name. for example, さしみお by Ookami Mio feat. SubaOka (note how Suba and Oka link to Oozora Subaru and Nekomata Okayu respectively)
  2. if it looks like it could be a long-term collab (or the artist names aren’t mashed together like the above), then you can create a new artist. for example, miComet is a collab between Sakura Miko and Hoshimachi Suisei which might be one-off, but it’s not as obviously made up of the two artists’ names. that, or there’s obviously long-term project ABBA, which is an acronym of the member’s names.

(I’m sure you can’t tell I’m a bit into hololive… no way) :wink:


Thank you for the explanation of bootlegs vs releases, that’s been bugging me for a while!

Okay if I’m understanding you correctly, the BTOB Axes example would best fit with option 2 as this is a collaboration that’s been there since… 2015? 2016-ish and they’ll bust it out whenever they get bored.

Now for the Mayfly/It’s One example, that seems like option 1 would be a better fit, but would it be considered a supergroup or a subunit? Mnet does list the unit members in the title (ex: [풀버전] ♬ 물감놀이 - 메이플라이(랩 유닛: 민혁, 방찬, 창빈, 한, 홍중) - YouTube where the title goes [Full version] :musical_note: Playing with Paint (lit. translation, but Mnet calls it ‘Colours’ for an English title in the thumbnail) - Mayfly (Rap Unit: Minhyuk, Bang Chan, Changbin, Han, Hongjoong) is how the title/description is) so would that align with your example in option 1? Or would option 2 be more applicable as they don’t mention which groups those 5 are from and the unit name isn’t a mashup?

Thanks for your answers and your patience! I’m still trying to figure my way around this database and make sure that any mistakes I make are minor ones, at worst.

from your description, it sounds like Mayfly would be option 2, a secondary group which has members from other groups.

one thing I forgot to mention above, if there’s a website for a collab, then it should get its own artist (option 2), since that’s a relationship that wouldn’t fit well on the individual member’s pages. (note this might not apply if there’s just a Spotify or other streaming/digital store page, as most services can’t do artist credits like we can here)