Year-End Review: Dreamcatcher Achieves Firsts, New Paths In 2021

K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall

K-Pop’s rock/pop girl group spent their fourth year checking things off the “successful K-Pop group” checklist while also creating new opportunities for themselves.

Dreamcatcher wishes fans a Merry Christmas in 2021. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

As 2021 is coming to a close and Dreamcatcher put up their usual Christmas greeting, I thought it would be a good time to put up the year-end review of the group’s activities. Last year’s year-end review talked mostly about the numbers — significant ones that showed how Dreamcatcher has changed, grown, and achieved in 2020. This year, I think I’m going to be taking a different approach, as there’s been a significant theme throughout 2021 for K-Pop’s resident rock/pop girl group.

That theme, simply put, is “firsts”. Dreamcatcher’s 2021 had a bunch of these, and many of them signified not only milestones for the group, but more importantly, a solidifying of sustainability for them, whether financial, reputation, or otherwise. The sense that I got, as I reported on them weekly for a full year, is that Dreamcatcher was finally getting just a bit more recognition in their native South Korea, and the things that they got to do in 2021 showed that. Not too bad for a group with a non-traditional, internationally-focused concept and strategy. Dreamcatcher still possesses a smaller fandom and following in comparison to some of the upper mid-tier to high-tier girl groups out there, but I think heads have turned and people are, perhaps, starting to recognize the hard work they’ve been putting in since 2017. So without further ado, let’s look back on Dreamcatcher’s 2021, and all of what they’ve managed to get to for the first time.

First Lightstick (And More)


Lightsticks in K-Pop have become a staple of groups and soloists for a while now — they’re meant to add to the artists’ brand, give off a sense of the concept, fandom, or other associated element of the music, and for fans, be a way to cheer for their favorite K-Pop artists during live events. Until 2021, Dreamcatcher had yet to have an official lightstick of their own, and in their 4th anniversary vLive in January, they finally had a chance to reveal that they were getting one.

Dreamcatcher lightstick release announcement. Source: hf_dreamcatcher
Dreamcatcher robe release announcement. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

But what Dreamcatcher fans weren’t expecting was that there’d also be something else to add to the lightstick look — an official robe that seemed to complete the kind of “dark concept” look that would likely be present at future live events and concerts was also introduced. This of course delighted fans, who were all too happy to spend a bit more to support the group (and create a unique look for themselves at the same time).


This was one of those situations where the wait was certainly worth it, as Dreamcatcher Company seemingly went all-out with their lightstick release. It came in a coffin, had several different lighting settings, charged with a modern USB-C interface, and, with multiple purchases, had the ability to almost infinitely expand itself in length. It was so popular that it had to be restocked twice, and even though there were issues with the official storefront, Dreamcatcher Company learned valuable lessons from this that would help even as they expanded their vendors to include many common ones K-Pop fans employ.

First-time Merchandise


Dreamcatcher Company wasn’t done with just the lightstick and robe, either. 2021 saw them explore new merchandise opportunities both traditional and new. As it related to more expected swag, hoodies, hats, framed photographs and more graced the official storefront page, adding to an already-existing set of Dreamcatcher-related items that fans were able to spend on.


But new and interesting bits of merchandise came down the pipe as well. September saw a “special merchandise” release that had a beautiful photobook and other “dark” themed items as part of a“Mysterious Mansion” package and more recently, Dreamcatcher’s first foray into the traditional “Season’s Greetings” 2022 merchandise with a two-version “Celestial Dreams” and “Sweet Dreams”, out in just a couple of days from this article’s publishing.

Dreamcatcher’s first concert DVD release, Crossroads. Source: MyMusicTaste

Combined with some of the usual merchandise packages that came from partner MyMusicTaste as a result of their continuing online concert series, including a first-time physical media release of their two-night “Crossroads” concert, Dreamcatcher and Dreamcatcher Company were definitely pumping out the merchandise opportunities this year. In a second year of a pandemic where in-person concert tours were nixed, every little bit helped as far as revenue stream opportunities, which also allowed the company to learn some lessons as it related to merchandise partnerships and storefront options. We’re likely to see a new official store partner for Dreamcatcher merchandise in 2022, so I’m certainly looking forward to what other first-time Dreamcatcher items the company comes up with.

First Reality Show


While vLives, fansigns, and other official offstage content have given fans the opportunity to see what Dreamcatcher is like when they aren’t owning a performance, the group had yet to have a structured show that allowed them to do that coming into their fourth year. All of that changed when the announcement came down that Dreamcatcher was going to get to do their very first reality show, released in ten episodes over the course of a couple months and called “Dreamcatcher Mind”. The show would showcase “new and different sides” of Dreamcatcher and would eventually have a post-show special merchandise release that was put out at the same time as the “Mysterious Mansion” merchandise package.


Reality shows come in various flavors in South Korea when it comes to K-Pop groups, and one such direction to take has been to put the group into various situations and activities and see how they react. This is the tack that the production crew behind “Dreamcatcher Mind” decided to take, and with input from both the group and company, gave us ten episodes of fun and entertaining moments. We got to see Dreamcatcher do a real-life version of popular teamwork/betrayal game Among Us, do a throwback to 2000 era variety shows, do a team versus team airsoft battle, challenge their fears in a haunted hospital setting, and more. Each episode felt fresh and all of the members got to have their moments over the course of the ten weeks of the show’s release run.


Of all of these, I think I still liked the last episode the most. This was Dreamcatcher as I think many long-time fans know and see them — casual, mostly unabashed about their behavior, and associated with a company that has a more progressive view of their artists as less idol and more regular human. The message being sent here seemed to be that Dreamcatcher works hard, plays hard, drinks, eats, and unwinds just like the rest of us — they just happen to have to do so in more visible fashion. I recommend giving the full Dreamcatcher Mind reality show playlist a look if you haven’t already (or if you have and want a bit of a repeat performance) — it was a great first foray into reality shows for the group and we can only hope there will be more in the future.

First-time Idol Networking


Dreamcatcher has always operated under the assumption that they have a much stronger international presence than they do domestically. The non-traditional rock concept and the fact that the CEO positioned touring around the world as a primary revenue stream certainly dictated this. That’s not to say Dreamcatcher doesn’t have friends and associates in the industry, as there are occasional photos and frequent mentions about who they know, but the group and company itself has always seemed to face an uphill battle when it comes to domestic recognition.

MAMAMOO’s Moonbyul with Dreamcatcher on Moonbyul’s “Studio Moon Night” on Naver Now. Source: kr_now

Though the uphill battle continues, it seemed to me that 2021 was the year that Dreamcatcher finally got many domestic companies and organizations to begin to turn their head and take notice of them. In many cases, the way this appears to have manifested is in the public networking and appearances the group has put in with regards to their fellow artists in the industry. Whether it was well-known soloist Eric Nam (who had so much fun during their KCON:TACT Season 2 appearance together that he had to get some of Dreamcatcher on the show), Jun Hyosung of Secret, MAMAMOO’s rapper Moonbyul, and more, Dreamcatcher’s frequent radio and show appearances alongside such high-tier idols both gave Dreamcatcher more exposure and networking while also showing off that South Korea may taking a bit more notice of the veteran girl group with the rock concept that’s been making waves under the radar domestically. And Main Dancer SuA, in particular, appeared to break down another barrier for the group when she scored a fixed/regular guest gig on SBS Young Street radio, putting her in the orbit of Red Velvet due to the show’s brand new DJ, Red Velvet main vocalist Wendy. The two have become fast friends, and their working relationship has already borne fruit in the form of at least one partial Dreamcatcher appearance.


Of course, none of this high-tier idol networking doesn’t come without some “successful fan” stories as well. Yoohyeon’s opportunity to work with well-known soloist Sunmi resulted in not only a fun dance challenge for their respective songs, but Yoohyeon getting Sunmi’s contact information for regular conversation as well — a dream long-held by the group’s Lead Vocalist. And Dami, who is normally one of the most calm on-camera for the group, got to let her fan flag fly fearlessly after getting to meet (and be close to) Sunny from Girls’ Generation/SNSD for a variety appearance. Veteran followers of Dreamcatcher know that Dami is a hardcore SNSD fan, something she was all the more happy to show off by bringing a fanclub kit for Sunny to sign.

Seeing both Yoohyeon and Dami so ecstatic to meet fellow artists who they’ve looked up to since their trainee days was just a reminder not only that Dreamcatcher’s hard work is paying off, but that artists in the the K-Pop industry have their own inspirations and peers they respect. Networking aside, the ability to meet and interact with such role models is pleasing to see — Dreamcatcher gives plenty to its fans and it’s only fair they get a little back in the form of their work paying off in this manner. 2021 was certainly Dreamcatcher’s year for that.

First-time High-Profile Partnerships

Dreamcatcher and Dreamcatcher Company have had a few partnerships with companies over the years which can’t be understated (their work with LG’s IDOLLIVE and MNet’s KCON series, to name a couple examples, have led to multiple opportunities and appearances), but I really feel like in 2021, this kicked into even higher gear with a few high-profile collaborations. One of the most prominent of these is the Dreamcatcher x NEOGEN collaboration, which featured the group working with a global brand in skincare to come up with seven individual scents, packaged into hand creams and body mists. As far as endorsements go, this was mutually beneficial — the group got to do a commercial-type collaboration while NEOGEN got to increase visibility for their brand into the market in the face of some rising competition. These are small steps, but steps nevertheless, into other work of the same nature.


NEOGEN wasn’t the only global brand to get involved with Dreamcatcher, either. Spotify, looking to get a foothold into the traditionally MelOn-dominated landscape, had their Spotify Korea account conduct a Q&A with Dreamcatcher. Sony’s K-Pop music division signaled a new distribution partnership with Dreamcatcher Company by putting its brand weight behind some of Dreamcatcher’s recent comeback posts and releases. And other recognizable names such as Forbes (who produced feature pictures for both JiU and Handong when they won some fan voting polls) and Buzzfeed (who were among Dreamcatcher’s tour of text-based interviews with press outlets) also got to work with and recognize the group. However far these bits of work reached, they were nevertheless helpful for increasing the group’s profile.


On the homefront, Dreamcatcher built up partnerships domestically, adding to already-existing partnerships with MNet (for KCON) and MyMusicTaste (for concerts). Siyeon and Dami got to work with OCN flex their OST singing chops by working to record a haunting, rock-based song called “Shadow” for OCN drama “Dark Hole”, and Dreamcatcher as a whole was invited as representatives of South Korean culture at the online Mokkoji Korea festival, sponsored in part by the South Korean government. Partnerships and work such as this truly gave me the sense that Dreamcatcher was no longer an “underground” group in their native country, and that these new relationships would hopefully lead to more down the line.

First Numbers


Last, but not least, we get to the numbers Dreamcatcher produced for 2021, many of which were firsts for the group. Some of the milestones included:

These are just some of the first-time numbers that Dreamcatcher has produced in 2021. Scrutinizing fans will point out that one first that is missing on here is that elusive first music show win, an accolade that has escaped Dreamcatcher yet again this past year. But to be honest, by now that would be a cherry on top, a bonus goal to be checked off by a talented group that has said they would like it, but that another goal is simply maintaining good quality of music and being recognized as growing in that quality as artists, per JiU in a recent variety appearance. This was good to hear from Dreamcatcher, as I’ve always felt that focusing too hard on first music show wins does so at the expense of remembering how far they’ve come in the four years they’ve been active.

Dreamcatcher performs Summer Holiday B-side “Whistle” for the first time live at their Halloween Midnight Circus concert. Source: Dream Catcher Company

This is especially significant this year, as I’ve spent pretty much an entire article making the point that the theme of Dreamcatcher’s work this year has been many, many “firsts”, achievements that will no doubt have more far-reaching consequences than that short-term music show win boost. Would it be great to have one? Of course, and you wouldn’t find Dreamcatcher disagreeing with you there — after all, what artist wouldn’t want to be recognized as such in K-Pop? But I also think that the group has grown so much this year alone with a bunch of milestone first achievements that a music show win, were it to come in the future, would only really be the consequence of everything they’ve already achieved so far, and hopefully, will continue to achieve.

Dreamcatcher snaps a pic during “Wind Blows” promotions. Source: Dream Catcher Company

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this year-end review of Dreamcatcher in 2021, and look forward to everything we hopefully will see out of the group in their fifth year in 2022. As always, be sure to clap, follow, and signal boost the article if you like what you’re reading — and be sure to keep watching this space for more Dreamcatcher content in the near future! Until then, enjoy some of the miscellaneous “firsts” I couldn’t really fit into the article from Dreamcatcher’s 2021: