TM Chapter 90

Chapter 90: Symbol of Happiness (2)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir

Sponsors: G.P and Anonymous


 

Everyone’s gazes turned towards the screen.

A familiar album cover appeared in the ‘new song’ category of the music site. When we clicked it, the five tracks we had listened to again and again while preparing for the album appeared. The two title tracks were marked with a ‘title’ indicator.

In the review column of the music site, which possessed the largest share in the national music market, the comments of people who were waiting for the album to release were uploaded in real-time.

Looking at reviews, such as ‘I can tell it is high quality just by listening to the intro’ and ‘Go Neptune!’, my heartbeat quickened a little as well. Maybe it was because we could see the real-time rankings, but it was a completely different sensation compared to entertainment shows or dramas.

How high would they go?

“Chief, when will the 5-minute prediction chart go up?”

At my question, Kim Hyunjo smirked.

“Hey, you. The 5-minute prediction chart is only for the first, second, and third places.”

“It might be one of them.”

“Hey, hey. It seems your standards have reached the top of your head because Cat Guardian Ghost became a historic success, but hitting the top of music charts, that’s not as easy as it sounds.”

Kim Hyunjo glossed over it while laughing, but I was serious. The ‘shooting through the graph’ talk from before wasn’t a joke either.

Of course, I knew it wouldn’t be easy since the number of downloads and streams would have to surge past the graph. If this was so easy, there was no reason for singers to be so anxious when releasing their songs.

Still, my expectations of ‘just maybe’ had already crawled up to my throat.

This album was expected to succeed. Their popularity had already increased enough to shed their ‘rookie’ label. They were promoted well too. Wasn’t it enough to aim for a brilliant rank with this?

However, these were only my thoughts, the reactions were lukewarm.

“Maybe it’s because oppa took seven bowlfuls of kimchi soup{1}, I feel relaxed instead.”

Im Seoyoung smiled while poking my side. The other girls were the same. The girls said their simple wishes, which was hoping for their album to be in the top 50 so that it appeared on the first page.

The only person who held such high expectations in this room was me. No, the traitor and me.

Soon, Kim Hyunjo said,

“Here you go, the 5-minute prediction graph.”

I hurriedly looked at the screen.

Then I unconsciously frowned. It wasn’t there. Neptune’s name wasn’t on the prediction graph for the first, second, and third places. Even though others told me not to get ahead of myself, I still thought there was a chance.

Then what rank was it?

Just as I was divining the next number, the real-time chart updated.

“Believing we’re within the top 50, I’m going to go up from the 50th rank.”

“Oppa, quickly, quickly! I feel like I’m going to get a heart attack!”

“If it’s not in the top 50?”

“Hey! Are you going to say such unlucky words even at a time like this? What are you going to do if your words come true? Quickly touch Sunwoo oppa and nullify your words!”

Facing such a fiery temper, LJ lightly touched my arm in the end.

Kim Hyunjo suddenly said,

“It’s here. 42nd.”

What?

While the girls were shouting, I almost made a strange sound. If Kim Hyunjo didn’t continue speaking, I might have called the music site to ask if there was a problem with the count.

“What in the world? It’s not one of the title tracks.”

“… It’s not one of our title tracks? And it reached 42nd? May-maybe the count is wrong?”

Surprised by her own words, Im Seoyoung grabbed my arm.

The paused screen began to scroll up again. Kim Hyunjo seemed nervous as I heard the mouse wheel click a few times. Soon, the mouse stopped twice.

35th and 33rd. The places of two other non-title tracks.

At this point, the mood in the practice room wasn’t just heated, even our skin felt like it was burning. If someone threw a lighter, it would cause a chain explosion. No one could utter a word as they stared at the screen with widened eyes.

We kept scrolling up. Neptune’s album cover didn’t appear in the twenties. As soon as the first digit changed to a one, I heard people gulping around me.

Just then, we stopped scrolling completely.

“… Here it is. Am I dreaming?”

“It-it’s probably a dream, right? Right? Right, unni?”

“I think so. Oppa, check another site.”

“Euah, Sunwoo oppa must truly be the symbol of happiness! His hair must really be effective. If not, there is no way this could happen!”

“The company isn’t buying up the album, is it? I heard a lot about that these days.”

The mood surged. Everyone’s cheeks were dyed red with excitement, and their voices became louder as they resounded throughout the practice room.

It seemed Im Seoyoung was overwhelmed with fifty thousand emotions as she stomped her feet with tears in her eyes. LJ was persistently asking Kim Hyunjo about the company buying up their album, and Lee Taehee took champagne out from her bag. Lee Songha held glasses and food in her hands.

Although the traitor seemed a little sad, he was enjoying this festive mood. The only one who couldn’t join in was me.

I checked the screen once more. There was no change.

Lee Taehee’s song ‘Satellite’ was 14th.

Simon Lee’s song ‘Virgo’ was 11th.

These were the ranks of our title tracks.

 

I greeted the dimly brightening morning with open eyes.

My head was so complicated that I only looked at my phone throughout the night. Opening the music app, I checked how the real-time chart rankings changed every hour.

Fortunately, they increased as time passed, but the increase was smaller than I hoped.

The morning rankings were Satellite at 11th and Virgo at 10th.

Objectively, this was a successful entry since Kim Hyunjo and the girls bathed in happiness while popping champagne late into the night and we received texts of relief and congratulations from other employees, including the team 3 leader and the PR team, saying that these ranks were good.

That was why this was a successful entry into the charts. If I didn’t know the original future, then I too would be happy about this success and be drinking champagne until I collapsed. However, the future and the conversation I had heard endlessly entangled in my head, preventing me from celebrating.

It felt like I failed to grab something that was within reach.

Were my expectations just too high from the start? Did it reach 10th originally?

However, considering it was a hit song that would place first on a music broadcast, wasn’t its start too weak? Would something happen that would make it rise abruptly or climb back up the chart?

Or was it because I changed the album to include double tracks, which was different from the future? Did the rank halt early because public interest was divided?

While biting my lower lip, I checked the album review column again.

 

-All the songs are of good quality. W&U also made the album so pretty that I might have to own one as a photo album!

-I was worried Neptune might flop again, but if it’s like this, they’ve burst from their coffins.

-I think the key point is to maintain these ranks for the long run and prevent them from dropping. They need to hold out.

-Since their songs are so good, I don’t think they’ll suddenly drop from the ranking. Their non-title tracks are all within the top 40, and since their two title tracks are also in the rankings, I hope that they can keep them up by going on as many entertainment shows and music broadcasts as they can.

-Lee Taehee’s song’s amazing, isn’t it? I think it’s the best out of them. I’m replaying it non-stop.

-I second Lee Taehee’s song. I understand why they went with two title tracks.

-To be honest, they are songs that can go up higher, but they are lacking the firepower.

-Since this is only the first day, I believe there is a chance they’ll go up even higher.

 

The comments regarding the quality of the album were very positive. Its rating was on the high end with 4.8 stars. Even in community sites and on social media, favorable comments were the absolute majority. If they could gain momentum through broadcasts in this situation and if it spreads through word of mouth, then it might go up even higher.

This was what I thought while rubbing my dry lips.

Yeah, let’s wait and see a while longer.

 

Once we jumped into the torrent of schedules, I no longer had time to leisurely get lost in my thoughts. Although we scheduled as many as we could so that we could bring more exposure to the girls and their new songs, after trying to keep up with the schedule personally, there was no schedule more hellish than this.

Public network and cable music broadcasts, celebratory performances on cultural programs, as well as smaller events besides them, they performed multiple times a day. We even held autograph events to increase album sales.

Days of waking up early in the morning, putting on makeup, running around all day, and sleeping early in the morning continued. The girls were astonished, saying that this was the busiest they had ever been since they debuted, but they seemed to welcome their busy schedule as they were lively every day.

Still, the song ranks increased slowly due to the effort they put in.

When the talk show they appeared on with Simon Lee was broadcasted, I inwardly had high hopes. Even though it was a group talk show with tons of celebrity guests talking, it was still a 1-hour public network entertainment show like Star Manager.

However, it completely lacked impact compared to Star Manager. While I was monitoring the broadcast, I thought my eyes would fall out from trying to find Neptune in the full shots since their faces didn’t come up on the screen nearly enough.

Yet, since it was still on a public network, Virgo climbed up to 6th right after the broadcast and Satellite reached 8th.

Although it was slow, I had been suppressing my nervousness by looking at the ranks going up one by one. Yet, the insufficient ranks suddenly began to fall.

Unexpectedly, it was because of Sugar Cats.

“This is BYG’s fandom’s firepower.”

Kim Hyunjo said while clicking his tongue. Sugar Cats’ digital single, which they released at midnight, was playing on his laptop. Sugar Cats was definitely a 3-person group, yet male voices were heard more often.

“Even putting the cart before the horse this much is embarrassing. How is this Sugar Cats’ song featuring BYG? Anyone who listens to it will think the Sugar Cats were featured in BYG’s song. BYG’s fans are the only ones promoting the song on social media too. Even their fandom doesn’t consider this as Sugar Cats’ song.”

As soon as Sugar Cats’ song featuring BYG members was released, it reached third. Past noon, it was now at second. Since they were performing this well, their album sales shouldn’t be low, and if they appeared on broadcasts with BYG, it would become even trendier.

At this rate, Sugar Cats were more likely to be first on the music broadcast than Neptune. Just where did things go wrong? I didn’t know where I should start in order to flip the situation around.

The Neptune members who were satisfied with being in the top 10 were at a loss for words when they heard the news. Especially Im Seoyoung, she became limp like a lifeless jellyfish.

We would have to meet Sugar Cats during their next music broadcast, but it put a bad taste in my mouth thinking of their proud faces.

“Just looking at the songs, ours is better. Fandoms are a cheat, a cheat. The Sugar Cats weren’t even expected to have BYG featured in their song, what is this all of a sudden…?”

Kim Hyunjo’s words nailed into my ears like a dart.

“Featuring BYG wasn’t expected?”

“They weren’t planning on an album from the start, but I hear they changed midway.”

What a pot of confusion.

Sugar Cats’ high music chart ranking, featuring BYG, did these events occur in the original future? Or did the present change?”

I recalled Sugar Cats, who I saw last at Next K-Star’s concert. They had disappeared looking like they had swallowed a bug. They said that they would make a comeback at the same time as us as though they were telling us to watch out.

If they had pulled BYG into this because they had a grudge against Neptune, who was continuing to rise after Star Manager, then this clearly didn’t happen in the original future. The present had changed.

Out of the frying pan into the fire, I already had a headache because Neptune’s ranks were lower than I expected, but for another variable to pop up. I felt like my head would explode from overcapacity.

Yeah. Another variable was added to the mix, what should I do from now on?

For this album to reach the level of success of the original future and for Lee Taehee’s song to be known as a hit song and reach first on music broadcasts, how could I expose their new songs to the public in an effective way so that interest in them rises?

While I was pondering about this, my phone rang. It was a text.

I thought it was another congratulatory message, but it was from a writer who had contacted me a few times in the past.

 

-Mr. Manager, when do you think the internal meetings will decide? We are awaiting a favorable response. Since a new album has been released, if you appear alongside Neptune, we will pay careful attention to use their songs as part of the background music and even display their music video.

 

As soon as I checked the message, I turned to Kim Hyunjo.

Although I didn’t know how helpful I would be, I had to do everything I could.

“Chief, you remember the entertainment shows that asked me to appear as well, right? The ones we put on hold for now.”

“Yeah, why?”

“I’ll go on them.”

 


{1} Similar to ‘counting your chickens before they hatch’ or ‘getting ahead of yourself’. I kept it literal since the author is playing with the idiom by saying it wasn’t just some Kimchi soup, but seven bowlfuls!

 

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Comments 13

  1. Hum…good:)
    I was complaining last chapter about lack of hardship^^ my prayers were heard:D
    Here his power can’t help much…exept if the Neptune futur success was related to an event in particular.
    really interesting chapters are to come.

  2. Yes! This is what the story needs… a difficulty that has arisen because of the changes to the future, and new opportunities because of the changes. I like and trust this author’s control of the story a lot.

  3. Hey, at this pace sanwoo will also become a star. I thought ‘satelite’ will be the top 3. But seems like everything won’t go smoothly just because he saw the future.

    Btw thanks for the chapter.

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