By Han Sang-hee
In the past, original soundtrack albums were just a little extra something that came with a television drama. Now, however, more viewers and drama makers are starting to realize their importance and potential.
One of the most popular drama soundtracks lately has been Baek Ji-young
's "Is Love a Sin?" for the SBS drama "Princess Ja Myung Go
", starring Jung Ryeo-won
and Park Min-young
. Her sad ballad was made for Jung's character Ja-myung, and although the drama is not faring well in the ratings, the song is soaring in popularity, topping Internet music charts.
"We started working on the original soundtrack a year before the actual airing of the drama. We were given the synopsis of the program, and after discussions with the producer, we managed to create music and songs that were a fit for the big budget period drama", Lee Sang-ho
, the music producer, told The Korea Times.
In the past, drama production companies would work on the album, along with the television series itself, but due to financial difficulties, the albums would often be pushed to the sidelines.
"But now, broadcasters outsource the soundtracks to a separate company, like `Princess Ja Myung Go
'. We put our money and effort on the albums, so of course we strive to bring out the best album possible", Lee said.
The recent rush of top singers joining the soundtrack scene is another result of this extra effort.
"We aim to create a high-quality album, and that includes the singers. We would discuss with the drama makers, and when we all agree that this specific singer is a fit for the song, we start recording", he added.
The producer said soundtrack albums hit their peak with the drama "Boys over Flowers
", and continued with several others including "Princess Ja Myung Go
Although SS501 already had a firm fan base, working on the drama, "Boys over Flowers
", helped them gain more recognition. In F4 star Kim Jun
's group T-Max's case, working on the original soundtrack for the hit drama was indeed a Stroke of Luck
The line of top singers continued, with Lee Seung-chul
singing for the drama "East of Eden
" (MBC), while singers like Ho-ran, Position, Jung-in and Seo Mun-tak joined together for the drama "The City Hall" (SBS). Tae-yeon and Tiffany from Girls' Generation worked on the dramas "Beethoven Virus
" (MBC) and "Princess Ja Myung Go
More singers are expected to attract new fans through drama soundtracks, including Big Bang members T.O.P. (Choi Seung-hyun
) and Tae-yang, who will be working on the new drama "Friends, Our Story" (MBC).
The members' agency YG Entertainment
said that they decided to join the project despite their busy schedule in Japan, and that they were thrilled to participate in such a drama.
"It's the first time for us to be working for an original soundtrack of a drama, and we can't wait to see how our songs will appear in the program", the two members were quoted as saying by their agency.
Pop group Super Junior will also connect with fans through dramas, with their song "Dreaming Hero" for the new show "The Partner"
"Although `The Partner' is a program about law and attorneys, it's more cheerful than serious. We naturally tried to make bright songs and also tried to bring singers in for the younger crowd to help us bring out that atmosphere", Lee Pil-ho, the music director, said.
"We simply hope listeners and viewers will consider soundtrack albums as nothing less than ordinary albums. Soundtracks no longer depend on the popularity of a drama, but work on their own now. It's a whole new service we can provide to the audience", said Lee.