OVAN’s Agency Releases Official Statement In Response To Chart Manipulation Accusations
On March 9, OVAN’s agency, Romantic Factory, released a lengthy statement responding to accusations of chart manipulation.
The singer had spoken out himself about the accusations last week. The accusations started after his song “I Need You” (released March 5) took No. 1 on Genie’s realtime music chart over BTS’s “ON,” IU’s “Give You My Heart,” and Zico’s “Any Song.”
Romantic Factory’s statement was written by its CEO, Park Joon Young, and begins by explaining that they are releasing an official statement because their artist is being attacked to the point where he has been writing messages like ‘Please save me’ on social media.
The first part of the statement reiterates the fact that in December 2019, the agency won their lawsuit against accusations of chart manipulation. The agency was accused of chart manipulation in 2018 after OVAN’s song rose to the Top 10 on Melon’s realtime charts and fought back against the rumors with lawsuits for defamation and obstruction of business.
“The malicious commenters whom we sued were sentenced to fines or given suspended sentences conditioned upon receiving proper education,” the statement reads. “Therefore, the police, prosecution, and judiciary have acknowledged that ‘chart manipulation’ [sajaegi] was a false rumor.”
The statement continues, “We are most frustrated by this framing of ‘sajaegi‘ and we were one of the first companies to sue and receive a verdict. It is not possible for us to know the truth about other companies who are being framed for sajaegi, nor are we interested, but there is no reason for us to be included in that framing. We spent a lot of resources and time fighting those lawsuits, which makes us even more upset about the current issue. We would like to ask what we could possibly do to clear things up further. The results are not necessarily indicative of [criminal] behavior. It is like we are being asked to prove we are not a thief simply because we ‘look like’ a thief.”
The second part of the statement states that OVAN was not a completely unknown singer who had had no results prior to his recent chart-in. The statement explains that OVAN has been promoting steadily since his debut in 2017 and that all his songs after 2018’s “Drunk Night” had ranked within the Top 100 on Melon and Genie’s realtime charts. After the success of his song ‘Happiness,” “Rain Drop” ranked No. 4 and “Missed Call” ranked No. 9 on Melon’s realtime charts.
“Our artist has proven that he could very well rank within the Top 10 on Melon’s realtime chart and No. 1 on Genie’s realtime chart,” the statement reads. “Moreover, last year, Bryce Vine directly contacted us to ask if OVAN would participate in the global version of his song ‘La La Land,’ a hit song that ranked within the Top 100 on Billboard for 14 weeks.”
The statement continues, “Our song did not suddenly climb the charts. It charted high on the day of its release. Generally, only singers who are somewhat recognized can have good results on the day of their release. We are being framed as ‘our artist must not be famous because he doesn’t promote on TV,’ but this feels like we are being pressured to be like those who failed because they focused too much on media and broadcast PR that is past its prime.”
The statement goes on to acknowledge that there are many more famous artists than theirs and says, “We have been accused of trying to claim OVAN is more popular than BTS, Zico, and IU because we charted higher than they did on the same release date. We did not release our song on the same day as those singers. In fact, we timed our release so that we did not overlap with theirs. We did not ‘win’ against BTS by releasing a song on the same day as them. It does not make sense to say, ‘Because you are not as popular as BTS, you must have done something illegal.'”
The third part of the statement addresses the phenomenon of sajaegi more generally.
“The word sajaegi means ‘cornering the market,'” the statement reads. “So who is really doing sajaegi? Between us, who have appealed to the law about injustice and have no evidence of wrongdoing against us except our results, or fandoms, who only have the goal of raising specific singers on the charts using machinery without even listening to the song?”
The statement concludes, “Sajaegi describes behavior in which benefits are acquired through bulk buying of a product that you don’t use. Can the behavior of fandoms avoid the label ‘sajaegi‘? Should fandoms be accused of sajaegi because they won against market behavior? We know that the criticism targeted at us is like a religion. Just because we got good results, you must want to criticize us and believe us to be evil without any evidence. But your reckless behavior is hurting our artist. He is very anxious right now and suffering even though he didn’t do anything wrong. Watching him, we are also anxious and worried about him. As our artist has pleaded, we are asking that you please save him.”