Netizens Raise Protest About Korean Music Chart Reform

Netizens are raising voices of protest over the changes that have been announced for Korean music charts.

The change makes it so that only performance of music released between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. is immediately reflected in music charts. Music released outside of that window will only enter charts the following afternoon at 1 p.m. KST. This — a measure in pursuit of music charts fairly reflecting music popularity — affects many artists, including idols, who have been releasing their music at midnight.

A source from Melon said on February 15, “Last year, we received a warning from the Ministry of Culture about music released at midnight, and through the Korea Music Content Industry Association, [music sites] had a discussion. We came to the decision to make this change in order to promote stable chart aggregation and prevent abuse.”

Following this announcement, the hashtag “#MusicChart_ReformProtest” started trending in Korea. Those against the change are saying that idol fans have been doing nothing wrong, but are now being held to different standards than everyone else:

“Who consumes music more legally than idol fans, who buy streaming rights every month and download music [from Korean music sites]? [Music sites] made the five-minute charts and graphs and such, and now they’re taking action against idol fans. Why don’t you place the blame with everyone who doesn’t stream music late at night [after midnight]?”

“They’re basically saying idols aren’t singers, and idol fans aren’t a part of the public.”

korean music chart reform protest

Some industry insiders have also expressed skepticism at the change. One source said, “Just getting rid of charts for new songs [released at midnight] because idols with a lot of fans always top charts.. it’s unclear how effective that will be.” Some also said that it’s not helping prevent “sajaegi” (companies buying their artists’ albums), but rather looking down on idol fans, who make up a large portion of music consumers.

Offering an alternative, one industry source said, “If they want to make music charts fair, they first need to propose transparent criteria for the charts. They’d be better off getting rid of all real-time charts and leave just a daily and weekly chart, or an overall chart.”

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