As the Korean music industry continue to push back against chart manipulation, Park Jin-young speaks out.
On July 17, the founder of JYP Entertainment (JYPE) Park Jin-young wrote a long post on Instagram concerning chart manipulation and the consequences it can have. In his message, the singer wrote that “fair competition and evaluation is the cornerstone for any industry” and that “there are suspicions regarding music chart fabrication (manipulation) and it’s hurting all parties related to it.”
Additionally, in a stunning revelation Park says that “We (JYPE) are currently discussing this matter with other companies and planning to request investigations to the Ministry of culture, sports and tourism and the KFTC (Korea Fair Trade Commission).”
A Changing Landscape
Although chart manipulations or sajaegi has been around for years, the rocketing international popularity of K-pop in recent years thanks to such groups like EXO, BTS, and GOT7, have changed the landscape of Korea’s domestic music landscape.
As mentioned in an OP-ED by a Kpoplove writer, fans of idol groups have created guides to instruct international fans on how to stream, vote, and support their favorite groups. Although this can help artists to win prizes and gain recognition, there are real longterm consequences. In particular, it is hard to determine if their success has manifested naturally or has been manipulated and inflated by passionate fans.
On another note, in regards to JYPE, their current representative girl group TWICE have seen their two consecutive comebacks affected by the sudden rise and success of mostly unknown solo artists. During their “What Is Love” comeback in early April, ballad singer Nilo suddenly climbed music charts and landed in the number one spot ahead of both the girl group and EXO’s subunit CBX. Currently, TWICE is in second place on music charts behind Shaun.
Although both Nilo and Sean have denied any wrongdoing, it has spurred the music industry to make changes to protect the domestic market.
Taking a Stand
On July 9, the Gaon Chart Policy Committee announced that it would freeze real-time charts from 1 am to 7 am. According to a representative, they decided to implement the change to “prevent sajaegi (chart manipulation) during the late-night period when the consumption of music is (normally) sharply reduced.”
Although a small step, with the support of entertainment giants like JYPE and other similar companies more changes will likely come.
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