Vibe’s Agency Gives Detailed Explanation Following “Unanswered Questions” Broadcast On Chart Manipulation
Vibe’s agency MAJOR9 denied accusations of chart manipulation once again.
On January 4, SBS’s “Unanswered Questions” aired a special on the issue of digital sajaegi (the manipulation of music charts and streaming numbers by an artist or agency), which recently returned to the spotlight after Block B’s Park Kyung accused several artists including Vibe 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.
MAJOR9’s explanation against the accusation was included in the broadcast, but the agency later stated that many parts of the explanation had been edited out.
MAJOR9 stated, “There was no disclosure of our explanation against the suspicions about us or any of the material that could overturn the claims made on the broadcast. Of the the interview that took over six hours, only three scenes [were included].”
The agency continued, “The content of the broadcast was edited to create a misunderstanding that the marketing we carried out was only a cover to avoid suspicion of chart manipulation and that we manipulated the charts via sajaegi businesses. Should ballad singers, indie artists, or rookie singers not affiliated with big agencies release songs and not do any promotional activities?”
Then MAJOR9 said, “If clear facts are not presented and only suspicions are shown on the broadcast, other victims may appear. So at the time of the interview, we asked the production team of ‘Unanswered Questions’ to specifically reveal the singers and the song titles if chart manipulation really exists so that it can be eradicated.”
To prove that they didn’t manipulate charts, the agency stated that sajaegi was not profitable and showed evidence of it.
The agency explained that the amount directly given to the production company of a song (as the company that owns the rights to the song) at No. 1 on the monthly Gaon chart is between 200 million won (approximately $171,500) and 250 million won (approximately $214,400) and that the amount for a song at No. 100 is only between 20 million won (approximately $17,200) and 22 million won (approximately $18,900).
Considering that the average production cost of music is 60 million won (approximately $51,500) to 80 million won (approximately $68,600) for digital singles, 100 million won (approximately $85,800) to 150 million won (approximately $128,700) for mini albums, and 2.3 billion won (approximately $1,972,600) for regular albums, MAJOR9 argues that it is practically impossible to earn back the production costs even if the song ranks No. 1 on the monthly charts of all music platforms.
MAJOR9 explained that even if they considered additional profits from other sources like performances at events, they wouldn’t break even.