Hanteo Chart Apologizes For Past Controversy And Announces New Certification System
Hanteo Chart has made an official statement clarifying several aspects of a controversy from last year.
On October 18, Hanteo Chart announced that it had created a new album certification system for international K-pop fans. It also addressed concerns that albums purchased by foreign fans were not being accurately reflected on its charts.
Last year, Hanteo was accused of manipulating EXO album sales numbers after an employee claimed in an online community that bulk orders from Chinese fans would not be reflected on the charts. The company responded with an official apology (written in Korean) in August 2017, which it has now translated—over a year later—into Chinese.
In the new statement in Korean released today, Hanteo Chart apologized again for the incident, revealing that the employee in question had since been fired.
Addressing its statement to “all the fans all over the world who love K-pop,” the company wrote, “First, more than anything, we would like to apologize once again for the past incident in which many fans’ feelings were hurt last year by the inexperienced actions of a former company employee.”
Hanteo Chart went on to clarify its position by explaining, “Because we are also fans with the same feelings and concerns as all of you, we have become even more cautious, and we find the situation to be a difficult one.
“To put it simply, when we updated our service, we hired a new employee with the goal of strengthening our communication with fans. The employee in question visited several anonymous online communities and wrote comments, and it is an undeniable truth that it was a serious mistake that could have led to a misunderstanding by many people. Even a hundred apologies on our part would not suffice.
“It appears that the employee was driven by a desire to do a good job, but lacked awareness of how a Hanteo employee should behave. Although they were the actions of a single employee acting alone, we consider all of the Hanteo employees to be at fault. At the time, we understood the gravity of the matter, and we immediately released an official apology. We also decided that additional statements [on the matter] could lead to even more misunderstandings. As a result, we had no choice but to make no further statements on the situation. The employee in question was ultimately fired, and we will strive to prevent such a situation from ever arising again.”
The company also revealed that it would be partnering with G-Market Global to implement a brand-new certification system. According to Hanteo Chart, the system will allow foreign fans to directly register their album purchases themselves, ensuring that the sale will be instantly reflected on Hanteo’s realtime charts, while also confirming the authenticity of their purchased albums.
Hanteo Chart stated, “Our vision and goal is to create a ‘fair market’ for the people all over the world who love K-pop and the people who are working hard to become great artists. That is why we equally support all nations and fans who love K-pop and all the artists who are doing their best. We, too, are passionate fans of K-pop.
“We would now like to take a step forward in the direction of realizing our goal. We have finished developing the world’s first ‘authenticity and chart-reflection system for the protection of copyright holders,’ and we are starting with an experimental ‘export-certification’ business.
“As we previously stated through the media, we have always counted all albums that are exported abroad. We have taken it a step further by updating our platform so that fans can confidently make purchases and register [their purchases] themselves, so that they will be reflected on the charts immediately. There is no longer any need to worry. The newly implemented ‘hologram + QR certification’ will certify [albums’] authenticity and register each [album] once while using GPS to collect data on nationality (city), gender, and age. Furthermore, it is a system in which it is impossible to re-register [an album], so there will be no overlaps.”
The company went on to explain why it had deemed such a system necessary. “Because there are so many companies that have directly partnered with Hanteo, it’s safe to say that the majority [of foreign sales] are reflected [on our charts],” it wrote. “However, after receiving reports that many inauthentic copies of albums are circulating abroad, we became certain that there was a need for confirmation of authenticity. That is the reason that we developed a new system and have started a ‘campaign for authentic sales and the protection of copyright holders’ together with G-Market Global (eBay Korea).”
Additionally, Hanteo Chart clarified several common misunderstandings about its chart data. Emphasizing that its data is not “entered manually,” the company wrote, “Our realtime chart system is 100% automated. We were founded in 1993, and we are unique in the world as the company that uses the largest amount of K-pop album metadata and realtime sales data in order to release realtime charts. In particular, it is not true that the information sent in by each retailer (in the Hanteo family) is recorded manually, as many have wondered.
“In the case of bulk sales such as pre-orders and group orders, the data is reflected on the charts based on the shipping date. Accordingly, there are occasionally instances in which data’s reflection on the charts is delayed.”
Hanteo Chart reassured fans that group orders from every country were reflected on its charts, asserting, “Our many family companies export to countries all over the world. We consider all fandoms all over the world to be equal. We have no bias against any country or any prejudiced intentions whatsoever.”
Finally, the company warned that some retailers who were not official partners of Hanteo Chart (“Hanteo’s family”) illegally used Hanteo’s logo on their website, misleading fans to believe that their purchases would count towards the chart. Hanteo Chart threatened to take legal action against such retailers in the future and reminded fans that the full list of family companies is updated on its website each year.
Note: This article has been updated for clarification.