Introducing Aespa, a Kpop Girl Group With Both Human & Virtual Members

K-pop Aespa group

Photo Credit: SM Entertainment

South Korean powerhouse SM Entertainment is debuting a new Kpop group venture that mixes humans with virtual members.

SM Entertainment debuted the group as part of a new venture at this year’s World Cultural Industry Forum. Founder Lee Soo-man appears to take inspiration from Marvel with his SMCU (SM Culture Universe).

Aespa combines ‘Avatar x Experience’ and ‘aspect’ to express the experience’s dual nature. Aespa will feature both human and virtual members to turn a new page in the chapter of Kpop. SM Entertainment says Aespa will bring a new sense of entertainment through music, lyrics, videos, performances, and more.

Real-life members of Aespa will continue real-world promotions like other Kpop stars. Within the virtual world, their avatars will engage with fans in new and unique ways. The concept draws inspiration from several musical performances within video games like Fortnite and Roblox.

“The members who reside in the real world and the avatar members who reside in the virtual world meet-up in the middle world, the digital world. They communicate, empathize, and grow together,” Lee Soo-man says.

“Aespa is a new group where the members of the real world and the avatar members of the virtual world co-exist. Supporting and assisting one another, and they are able to promote together with a revolutionary identity.

“The real-life members and the avatar members are separate organisms, and the avatar members have AI brains that allow for them to converse and to support the real members, even befriending them, sharing information, as well as going back and forth from one world to another.”

Human members of Aespa include Ninging and Karina, while virtual members include æ-Karina.

In a special promotional video, Karina and her virtual counterpart describe their first meeting. The whole thing appeals to the sense of drama that surrounds individual Kpop personalities – expanding on that with virtual members.

The move to virtual Kpop stars is a smart one from an industry perspective. The recent Red Velvet dust-up is proof that individual members can impact the group as a whole. After Irene was accused of bullying a stylist and fashion editor, she is being pressured to step-down. The incident happened due to comments made in private – something that wouldn’t happen with virtual stars.

Artists like Travis Scott, Marshmello, and others are already exploiting their digital identifies for a massive gain. The Travis Scott Fortnite concert event was one of the most-watched in-game concerts ever. Expect more artists to opt to become an avatar – either in games or another platform entirely.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar
    pa

    This was done in jpop since Hatsune Miku, 16 years ago? Not a bad idea; I would think jpop audiences and their techno fetish would be more receptive than the Kpop community. But K/DA is doing fine, close to virtual.

  2. Avatar
    confused

    no words, this is either the dumbest thing ever or the greatest thing ever…im confused

  3. Avatar
    I hate the concept

    This is just overall a dumb idea, I know that SM wants something different and they doesn’t want “aespa” to debut like red velvet when they were named as the “Nation’s failure group” but can’t they just do a different kpop concept like dark, weird, or even sci-fi

    • Avatar
      Aki Dai

      As a VERY Large K-pop fan I have been following up on Aspa for about a month When I first read about this K-pop group on my favorite web city Ashiaone And my opinion on the overall concept is that Yes, What Aspa is doing is a big risk Considering that fact that even without the virtual Idols there are some big technological issues in any band especially K-pop groups so of course you half to keep that in mind when using virtual members. But this is a new idea that has never been used before SO In that case, It is a new original Idea that May Or May NOT have some benefits So, in this Case, Is that This could Work out VERY Well are End in some of the Nastyist K-Pop Drama So we can either be pessimistic and have an overall bad view on the idea or we can be optimistic and have a good opinion on the idea so It Really depends on the person you are And How much of a negative person you are. Thank You For Reading

  4. Avatar
    I hate the concept

    This is just overall a dumb idea, I know that SM wants something different and they doesn’t want “aespa” to debut like red velvet when they were named as the “Nation’s failure group” but can’t they just do a different kpop concept like dark, weird, or even sci-fi