Fan-signs – What you should know and my experience
I was pondering a trip to Korea and many of the groups I enjoyed listening to were having comebacks at the time!
At that moment I wondered “How does one get into a fansign?”
These are the things i learned, how I made it to 2 different groups signings but missed out on several others from lack of correct information and bad timing.
One must most likely be in Korea (they may do out of country ones) during the buy period and the day of the fan-sign. For this story I will only focus on Korea, specifically Seoul (although I would assume other cities are similar).
The fan signs are usually a lottery type draw. Each CD purchased from the correct store during the designated buy period is a chance/ticket. So depending on how many CD’s you buy your chances get higher.
I’ll lead you through everything you need to do.
1. Target the desired groups
You should first join the fan cafes of any group you want to see.
I found the link to the Daum cafe on their official twitter page so search there and other social media or official pages.
This can be done at any time (just remember your login information). Most fan cafes only allow posting in Korean, but you can google translations and join. Find the schedule on that fan page, that’s where the upcoming events will be posted. Pages I went to were color coded, like music shows, events, filmings and fan-signs. Find the upcoming fan-signs, check each day to make sure there is not one being hid by tv or radio schedules (In a few cases the day had much more info than what was displayed at first glance, so I missed info early on in the trip from not being thorough). Click the given link to the internal page.
2. Frequently check the information provided
The fan-site link will usually have a time for the sign and a location. Do not fully count on that info as idols are busy and things can often change. The two I went to both were changed, one changed it’s time the other the location.
If you can get in touch with other fans to help out on Discord, Kakao… go for it. I don’t have a phone so I could not.
3. Choose the event
Here it gets hard. I had a bunch of help from my hotel staff. Sometimes the schedule link will take you to a page with the store location and info. Other times we searched in Korean instead for new updates. Whichever way you do it, find out when and where you have to buy the CD’s. The window in which the albums must be purchased is typically 3 days. The amount of time from that ‘buy window’ until the fan-sign can vary quite a bit; for example there were events on the coming Saturday that closed the week before and others that closed Friday.
You Must personally buy the CD’s on site (ID required). I got crazy lucky and both groups had overlapping windows at the same store. One Tue-Thur (Friday signing) the other Wed-Fri (Saturday signing). Be advised that a good chunk of k-fans have this down and go to many of the same groups fan-signs during a single Comeback period.
Next, identify how many winners there are gonna be and the method in which they are chosen ( mine were both 100 winners and random draw ). This impacts how many albums you’ll need to purchase.
4. Buying the albums
I went to the store on a Wednesday and spent time Tuesday going over Hanteo sales for the groups in the past weeks identifying the buy windows for other sign events and of course the windows I was targeting. This is what i used https://twitter.com/girlgroupsales?lang=en
Look at the daily numbers, the fan-sign days will have a significant sale jump.
Choosing how many albums for each group is the next big step. Opinions vary on just how many albums bought will be enough to get admission. K-fans I talked with mentioned some large numbers as sure thing targets 20+. Others said 10% of the groups album sales during the buy window, which seemed quite excessive (say they sell 1500 albums over that 3 day period that is 150 albums bought…). I went with 1% of the 3 day sales per active locations buy period (buy periods for separate fan-sign locations of the same group can overlap). These were acceptable odds to me.
Some things to remember.
a) It’s a raffle there is no certainty, but you can tilt the odds in your favor.
b) The most important number in this case is the amount of people who bought albums. Using number of albums sold is a way to make a guess at how many people are entered, mostly it gives a hard upper limit at what the number of qualified people can be. From the above 1500 for example that is at most 1500 people in the draw. The odds with 1 album purchased are approx 1 in 15 (since there are 100 winners. ((1/1500 )x 100)) (its really 1/1500 +1/1499 ect but we can live with 1/15). Other people buying big numbers actually will help because once they win the total denominator drops for example let’s say the first winner bought 20 albums your odds are 1/1500 + 1/1480 + 1 /1479, which equals to bigger odds than if that person bought only 1, and in a lot of cases it will be people buying more than 1 so your chances are actually quite a bit higher.
c) 1 album or 100, 1 seat is all you get.
d) Pick a number of albums or a dollar amount you won’t be sorry to spend even if you don’t get into the event.
For Cherry Bullet I calculated ~300 per store so I bought 3. I talked to one fan who made it in with 4. (my math on that (3/300) x 100 this looks like 100% its not, but it is really good odds.)
For Lovelyz I bought 7, that was low, but day 1 they did 300 so I cut it fine. I did have a fan come while I was still in the store and he bought 12. (Fans I talked with after also said that I should have bought 20, but i did not ask all of them how many they bought).The math on that is (7/900) x 100 = ~78%) While this looks great 1 out of 5 times I would not get in.
This was my only shot of seeing the group, trying to guess the smallest number of albums that should be bought while still making it in may not be the best strategy. I went a bit low on Lovelyz because I already had some copies at home, that was risky and should not have entered into my calculations. The 20 albums for Lovelyz that the kfans suggested would have been worth it, but that is 300.00W and I would have been very very unhappy if i had not made it in then. Oh and all of the album versions were standard. In the shops that do the fan-signs, the CD’s are more expensive (~4-5000W ..$3-5) than say Myeongdong underground stores.
Do not forget to keep the receipt when you are buying. If you are bringing gifts for the members you should research it beforehand and ask about it when you’re buying the album.
5. Check if you made it
Both times the store posted the list of 100 winners onto their website at 10 p.m. local time, the day before the event. Specifically Thursday night for the Friday sign and Friday night for the Saturday event.
6. Constantly check the event pages
Check everything again the next day, checking multiple times is often necessary. I went to the wrong side of town for the second one and got to the right place 1.5 hours late, luckily the event was still in progress and they let me in.
7. At the event
Take your ID and the receipt and stub the store provided. Bring a copy of the current album it does not have to be the one you bought at the store (I saw many fans with LE versions too).
When at the site, showing the above items to the staff validated my qualifications to enter. They had a little gift each time (For Lovelyz it was a Kei Puzzle, for CB a signed Photo card). I picked a ticket from a jar, this was to determine the seating order in the venue, and then entered. I was extremely lucky and ended up in the first row of fans both nights (seat 1 and seat 2).
While waiting I marked the places in the album where each member would sign using post-its with their name, my name was on the front. I was able to get post-its from staff at the event, but planing ahead may save others from a headache (it would have saved me from having to ask the guy next to me who the pictures were of one night *blush*).
After the members enter the fans will line up in batches according to the seat numbers. The staff will examine tags, gifts, the album, and hold phones or recording devices (if you feel comfortable enough to leave them in your seat do so, most fans have backpacks of stuff ). When talking to the members, each of them made an effort to talk with me and I used my awesome Korean….. Jiae even sang to me *faints*.
They let you take photos at photo time after everyone has gone through. The Cherry Bullet fan-sign was more relaxed in that sense as folks started filming while people were still in line. The members will cycle through and wear or play with some of the gifts, so take pictures. I learned that most of the gifts are given back to the fans as they are left on the stage at the end of the event. This was interesting as I thought that groups must be swimming in a see of bunny ears. The members do keep some of the gifts tho.
This was a fairly long event each night. 2 hours and you’re in a room with the group, some staff and 100 fans. It is a fantastic opportunity and I really can not express how much fun it was for me. Even with Cherry Bullet who I was just learning about it was very fun. Both groups had a bit of a Q&A at the end, and Cherry Bullet actually preformed a few numbers.
I hope this guide was helpful and useful for any of your future fan-sign attending plans!
Written by RandAlThor
– An avid reader, girl group stan, some time gamer and kpop lover!