IU, Sunmi, And More Share Thoughts On Chart Manipulation In Response To “Unanswered Questions” Broadcast

Following the broadcast of SBS’s latest episode of “Unanswered Questions,” many artists have taken to social media to express their thoughts and feelings on sajaegi (the manipulation of music charts and streaming numbers by an artist or agency).

On January 4, the popular investigative news program aired a special on the issue of digital sajaegi, which recently returned to the spotlight after Block B’s Park Kyung accused several artists of the practice on Twitter. (Although Park Kyung later deleted his tweet and his agency released an apology, all of the singers he named in his post announced that they would be pursuing legal action against him.)

At one point during the episode, “Unanswered Questions” interviewed an anonymous individual who said that he had witnessed just how effective digital sajaegi could be with his own eyes. He commented, “At that moment, I felt like I knew why some artists do sajaegi.”

After the broadcast, IU posted a screenshot of the interview (including the caption) on her Instagram story and wrote, “Still, let’s please not do [sajaegi]. Please.”

Sunmi also shared a clip from the episode on her Instagram story, along with an unamused emoji expressing her feelings.

In a now-deleted Instagram post, SG Wannabe’s Kim Jin Ho wrote, “I wonder how many people in the entertainment industry can watch [this episode of] ‘Unanswered Questions’ with a clean conscience. A bunch of people who don’t have the wisdom to know that they must pour all of their heart and soul into art in order for it to resound in others’ hearts—these people gather together and are trying to show off and look cool, without realizing that they are only hurting themselves.”

Jung Joon Il, whose agency’s CEO appeared on the episode, took to Instagram to share an emotional post about his approach to music. The singer posted a photo of his TV playing “Unanswered Questions” and wrote in the caption, “Yoon Dong Hwan, who was on today’s ‘Unanswered Questions,’ is my agency’s CEO.”

After fondly recalling that Yoon Dong Hwan had wished to work together with him even after Jung Joon Il warned him that he would not be able to make a lot of money or release a No. 1 song, the singer wrote, “Even though I’ve never reached No. 1 [on the charts], and even though I’m a singer who’s only managed to sing for the past 10 years due to one song that, thankfully, became a hit because of many of my fellow artists covered it—I’ve never once been ashamed of you, hyung, and I’ve never once thought that your efforts were in vain.”

He went on, “I’ve never once been sad about not being able to make it on the charts or anything like that. So let’s just keep going and do things the way we always have,” before playfully concluding, “And don’t cry; I’m saying this from experience: it doesn’t look cool at all.”

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처음 형이랑 홍대정문 앞 탐앤탐스에서 만났던 때가 기억납니다. 저와 함께 일하고 싶다고 했을때 저는 정확히 이렇게 말했어요. “형 나랑 일하면 형 굶어죽어. 나 돈이 안돼. 방송도 못 하고 말을 잘 하지도 못하고 누구 말도 잘 안들어. 내 음악은 대중적이지도 않고 1등 할 음악도 아니야. 나는 내 음악이니까 잘 안되도 나 혼자 끌어안으면 되는데, 형은 안돼. 형 나 돈이 안돼.” 그때 형이 이렇게 말했는데, “나는 너랑 일 안하면 매니져 일 그만두고 다른 일 할거야. 그런데 나 맨 처음이 일을 시작하게 된 이유가 아티스트의 매니져가 되어보고 싶어서 시작한거거든. 그러니까 나 돈 하나도 안줘도 되니까 같이 하자.” 저희는 그렇게 10년을 같이 했습니다. 저는 1위한번 해본 적 없는, 다행히 많은 선후배님들이 불러주신 덕분에 히트한 노래 한곡으로 지난 10년을 노래한 가수이지만 한번도 형이 부끄럽다거나 형의 노력이 헛되었다고 생각해 본 적이 없어요. 결국 세상은 바뀌지 않을겁니다. 저는 별로 긍정적이고 낙관적인 사람이 아니에요. ‘형 나는 언젠가 잊혀질거고 나는 언젠가부터 노래를 잘 못하게 될거야. 내 작곡능력도 글 쓰는 마음도 예전같지않아. 형이 더 잘 알잖아. 난 늘 내가 문제라고 생각하는 그게, 모든 문제와 불행한 결과가 나로부터 나온다는 그게 힘든거지 단 한 순간도 챠트같은거에 오르지 못 해 슬픈적은 없었어. 그러니까 우리 하던대로 하자. 많진 않지만 좋은사람들만 보고 아직 내 음악이 필요한 사람들 그 사람들만 보고 그렇게 하자.그리고 울지마 내가 많이 울어봐서 아는데 그거 진짜 안 멋있어 후져.’ 오늘 #그것이알고싶다 에 나온 #윤동환 대표는 저희 소속사의 대표입니다.

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OKDAL’s Kim Yoon Ju also posted a photo of her TV playing “Unanswered Questions” and wrote simply, “When did the world come to this?”

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세상은 언제부터 이지경

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Kisum similarly posted a photo of her TV on her Instagram story and added in the caption, “I want to make music.”

Rapper pH-1 also responded to the broadcast by sharing an image of hundreds of computers lined up—an allusion to digital sajaegi—on his Instagram story.

Finally, ITOWNKID took to Instagram to confirm that he was one of the anonymous individuals interviewed on the episode—specifically, the one featured in IU’s Instagram story.

In addition to sharing a clip of himself from “Unanswered Questions” and a screenshot of his name trending on Melon’s realtime search rankings, the rapper wrote, “To be honest, I was a little scared, so I asked them to blur out my face… but even so, it seems like people who knew my face still recognized me. So I’ve decided to just go public. It’s true that I received a sajaegi offer while I was filming ‘High School Rapper 3,’ and I don’t understand or condone the practice of sajaegi!

He added, “Even though I’m someone who doesn’t even get 500 likes on Melon when I release an album, I still don’t understand people who use machines to get on the charts, and I wonder if they really feel gratified and rewarded by making music. Everyone, let’s not do things we’re ashamed of while making music that makes us happy!”

ITOWNKID concluded his post by writing, “I feel proud because I did something good [by going on ‘Unanswered Questions’!… I really hope that sajaegi will disappear. (Also, the production staff tell me that I was the first to come forward with information for this episode!) Yes, that’s me in IU’s story. Thank you for suddenly making me No. 8 on Melon’s realtime search rankings, TT hehehehe.”

Shortly afterwards, IU responded to his post by leaving a comment with two thumbs-up emojis and a smiley face.

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사실 겁이 좀 나서 모자이크를 부탁드렸는데 이게.. 해도 알아보시는 분들은 다 알아보시더라고요 그래서 그냥 공개하려 합니다. 고등 래퍼 3 촬영 당시 사재기 재의 받은 거 사실이고요 저는 사재기를 이해도, 옹호도 하지 않습니다.! 저는 앨범 내도 멜론 좋아요 500개도 안 찍히는 사람이지만 그래도 차트 안에서 기계 돌리는 사람들 보면 음악 하면서 정말 보람을 느낄지 란 생각이 들고 이해도 안 되더라고요 다들 행복해서 하는 음악 창피할 짓 하지 맙시다! 제가 그 알에 제보를 하고 인터뷰를 응했다.라고 지인들에게 말했는데 누가 저보고 쓸데없는 짓이라고 했지만 저는 절대 쓸데없는 짓이라 생각하지 않고요! 좋은 일 한 거 같아 뿌듯합니다! 제 음악이 언젠간 차트 안에 들어가는 날까지, 기계 뒤에 가려져 빛 보지 못한 좋은 음악들이 더 알려질 때까지! 꼭 사재기가 없어졌으면 좋겠습니다 ? (그리고 제작진분들께서 제가 이번 편 가장 첫 제보자라고 하시네요! ?, 아이유님 스토리 저 맞습니다. 갑자기 멜론 실시간 8위 감사합니다ㅜㅜㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

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