K-pop 101: What are Kihno albums?

Ysa Abad

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K-pop 101: What are Kihno albums?

KIHNO ALBUMS. A collection of K-pop group SEVENTEEN's Kihno kits.

Ysa Abad/Rappler

More over, vinyls, cassette tapes, and CDs! K-pop has the Kihno kit!

MANILA, Philippines – If there’s one thing the K-pop industry is best known for – it’s their creativity. 

From the artistic themes of their music videos, to their visually-pleasing merchandise (case in point: lightsticks), they constantly find innovative means to make the whole fandom experience better. 

And with the boom in technology in recent years, it’s no surprise that the K-pop industry has also found a way to adapt to the digital platform. Enter: Kihno kits. 

What is a Kihno kit?

Around 2017 to 2018, K-pop agencies, primarily SM Entertainment, introduced a new format for their album releases: Kihno kits. 

We’re more familiar with physical albums because they have CDs (or in the K-pop world, the one with the photobooks and photocard inclusions); Kihno album versions are considered their digital counterparts. 

Derek Chang, He Yong, Yeri, Deng Lun, Cha Eun-woo, Derek Chang, Xu Kaicheng, Jungkook, Derek Chang, Derek Chang
K-pop group SEVENTEEN’s ‘Attacca’ Kihno album and its inclusions.

Kihno kits or albums are audio-visual devices that give fans access to the digital version of a standard album through a special application. Fans are required to download the application on their gadgets for them to access the digital content. 

If LPs need record players, cassette tapes need Walkmans, and albums need CD players, Kihno kits only need phones or tablets for them to be played. 

How does a Kihno album work?

To use a Kihno kit, fans have to download the KiT player app from the App store or Google play. Then, they’ll have to open the app and connect their Kihno kit device to their smartphone or mobile tablet through the mini jack headphone connector or bluetooth. 

Most Kihno kit albums released around 2017 to 2018 are equipped with a mini jack headphone connector, but recent Kihno kit releases starting from 2019 have transitioned to using bluetooth connections instead. Fans can just set the kits next to their device, make sure their bluetooth connection is on, and then wait until a download pop-up appears.

Accessories, Accessory, Wristwatch
These Kihno Kits use a mini-jack headphone connector.
Wristwatch, Electronics, Electronic Chip
These kihno kits rely primarily on bluetooth connection.

When a download pop-up appears, it will start downloading the contents of the album. A wi-fi connection is also needed to complete the download. 

Once downloaded, fans can now start playing the tracks and browsing the digital photo booklet in the album through the KiT player app.  Other Kihno kits have also included their music videos for that album. 

Users usually have 24 hours after the download to access a specific Kihno album on the app. Once the 24 hours lapse, fans should connect the Kihno kit again to their device and download the connects to access it again for another 24 hours. 

K-pop 101: What are Kihno albums?

Note that not all K-pop albums come with a Kihno album format – only select companies, such as SM Entertainment, DSP Media, Pledis Entertainment, and Jellyfish Entertainment, have released album versions in Kihno kits. 

And not all albums from the K-pop groups of these agencies also have Kihno kits. In K-pop group SEVENTEEN’s case, for example, only their albums Director’s Cut, You Make My Day, You Made My Dawn, An Ode, Heng:garae and Attacca have Kihno versions. Their Semicolon and Your Choice album, which were released in between Heng:garae and Attacca, however, doesn’t have a Kihno kit. 

It’s also important to note that Kihno versions are only released alongside a physical album (the album with a CD, as non-fans call it). No album of a K-pop act has been released in a Kihno version alone. 

What makes Kihno kits special?

While a Kihno format may seem quite unnecessary given that streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music already exist, most fans still purchase Kihnos for their inclusions and for the sake of completing their collection. 

Yes, as with most K-pop merchandise, Kihno kits also have their own inclusions aside from the actual device.

Usually, a kit comes with a postcard set of the K-pop group or a photocard of the K-pop artist. Others have also included other collectibles like accordion photo books and keyrings (MONSTA X’s “2018 Monsta X World Tour The Connect” Kihno kit) and grip holders (BLACKPINK Lisa’s Lalisa Kihno kit). 

K-pop 101: What are Kihno albums?

While Kihno kits are initially digital versions of an album, they have now started carrying K-pop concerts, too. 

Just by following the same process, fans can access concert DVDs through a Kihno kit. Instead of an album tracklist, concert Kihno kits are primarily composed of video footage of a K-pop group’s concert shows. 

Some K-pop concerts released in this format are Wanna One’s “World Tour One: The World In Seoul,” Red Velvet’s “Red Room” and “Redmare” concert tours, and Super Junior’s “Super Show 8.” 

K-pop 101: What are Kihno albums?

Do you like the albums with CD versions or Kihno kits? Let us know in the comments section! – Rappler.com 

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