Three major labels in Korea YG, SM and JYP had filed a report to ministry of culture against the manipulation of digital music charts back in 2013. In 2011, South Korea was the only country that digital sales surpassing the offline (CD, tapes) sales. If we argue that digital is killing the physical, South Korea was the one that really initiated that movement. Everyday, number one song on the main music online sites changes. It’s not surprising anymore to see a really good song is number one just for a day. That’s why the Korea’s leading online music site melon has a chart called the “live chart” where it shows what customers are listening at the moment.
Some companies have made complaints that they see problems with some agencies have powers to control the charts by increasing the number with how many times the song has been downloaded or streamed. Some songs unrealistically rank the at top of all music charts, and these songs are easier to get more attention from the customers. Of course when you log onto music sites and see an unknown artist’s song, you get curious to listen to the song and make your own judgement. This leads to more exposure for the artist and for the song to become even more popular. It’s difficult to pinpoint any artists or companies until there’s evidence. There are so many new artists releasing songs every day. To gain attention from the public is one of the hardest thing today for most of the KPOP artists.
How does this whole manipulation business work? It takes 500,000,000won (about 520,000 USD) for new artists and 300,000,000won (about 320,000 USD) for existing artists. They ask some marketing agencies to purchase thousands of usernames, and also create auto streaming program to bring the song top to the chart. This will lead these artists to be able to go on TV programs and live performance shows.
The labels that filed the report have stated that the manipulation must be stopped as soon as possible because it’s not fair for the artists and allows for unfair advantages. If this keeps on going music listeners and the over listening public will lose their respect towards these online music sites. Sometimes, I go on Melon or other sites to check what’s popular now and I cannot believe or agree with some of the songs that’s on Top 10. The chart manipulation does not make for fair competition for the artists, and ruins the healthy music market