A significant piece of news from the past week or so has been YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and Star Empire Entertaining uniting in a quest to get rid of manipulation of music charts, something people have long speculated was commonplace in the industry.
YG, SM, JYP, and Star Empire Entertainment came together to report the manipulation of music charts to the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office.
The four have pointed out the problems that have been on the rise with agencies manipulating the charts by raising the number associated with how many times the song has been played or downloaded. Once they are able to raise that amount to the point that the song ranks towards the top of music charts, the song is easily able to gain more attention. This also means more royalties, as well as a chance for these songs to rise to the top 10 of various music broadcast programs and thus, gaining further exposure.
Due to results like these, there has also been a rise in companies that offer services and products that can help with raising these numbers and manipulating charts.
Then Cube Entertainment and FNC Entertainment joined the fray.
If the team of SM Entertainment-YG Entertainment-JYP Entertainment-Star Empire wasn’t strong enough, now they’ve been joined by Cube Entertainment and FNC Entertainment.
When this was initially announced, it generated significant buzz. Partially because chart manipulation has always been speculated on, but mainly because people seemed to believe that certain artists/groups would get outed.
A reason I waited a bit was because I didn’t think they were going to actually out groups, and they didn’t. However, they did come up with a “fix” for this that wasn’t actually a fix at all.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has revealed their plans to prevent the manipulation of music charts.
For chart rankings, real-time downloads will have a heavier weighted ratio than real-time streaming. Before, there were user IDs that would stream the same song over a thousand times in a short period of time. However, since downloads cost much more compared to streaming (about 20 times more expensive), it will be more difficult for companies to manipulate. Also, the songs which are discovered to have used chart manipulation will not be receiving any copyright royalties.
However, this will have to be adopted by the music sites and industry as this will not be forcefully implemented. Also, the conflict of interest between the large and small labels along with music companies makes cooperation difficult.
So … nothing, basically. Well, stuff could change, but there’s nothing to force a shift.
Yes, the amount of influence of these companies is significant, so I’m sure they can get something done if they just cooperate with each other and lean on these sites a bit, but it still makes me question why the hell the government is involved in the private K-pop industry if they aren’t going to do shit about potential corruption and things of that nature. I mean, isn’t that the whole point of their involvement? God, I would love to believe they aren’t just in the industry to whore it out around the world and would actually want to change the status quo. Yet, them butting out of even simple stuff like this — where they have the support of the industry and the general public, no less — makes me think otherwise.
Personally? I found the coalition a bit amusing to begin with, since a lot of artists/groups under those companies have been at the forefront of chart manipulation speculation. If nothing further is done, all of this just looks like fancy PR.