Currently, digital sales on Korean apps/sites has become the major factor on music shows, chart rankings and year-end award ceremonies usually accounting to 40% or more on their respective criteria or point system.
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Melon is the biggest and most widely used music online store in Korea with a market share of about 40%. Its chart could be considered a relatively good indicator of what the general public listens to.
On July 6 2020 KST, Melon officially made a change to it’s realtime chart. The chart is now calculated based on streaming (40%) and downloads (60%) from the past 24 hours, rather than the past hour. In addition, the chart no longer shows ranking numbers, graphs, nor the fluctuation of rankings.
In addition to seeing the main chart titled “24Hits,” users are also provided with a chart called “MY 24Hits” that suggests songs based on their personal listening history.
*Streaming will NOT count if your account isn’t verified with a Korean phone number.
Genie is considered the second biggest music service provider in Korea with a market share of about 24%. Its chart is also updated on real-time, hourly, daily, weekly and monthly and counts 50% download + 50% streaming. Chart freezes from 1AM KST to 7AM KST everyday but streams are still counted within this time period.
FLO is a streaming service by South Korean Telecom with a market share of about 18%. Created in December 2018 in cooperation with K-Pop Ent companies like JYP, SM, and BigHit. The chart has recently been added to iChart as a basis to certify a song an All-Kill or Perfect All-Kill.
VIBE was created by Naver, with a market share of about 5-10%. The chart has recently been added to iChart as a basis to certify a song an All-Kill or Perfect All-Kill.
Bugs is another Korean digital music streaming service with a market share of ~ 5%.
Other Korean online music providers include Mnet, Naver Music, Soribada, Olleh Music, monkey3 and Cyworld but have since been removed in iChart standard evaluation for its charts due its volume of users or discontinued service.
Generic Streaming Guidelines
– Streaming on these Korean music platforms isn’t just simply about downloading the app and making an account. You have to buy a streaming pass or register a streaming coupon first to play the FULL song.
– Make sure NOT to skip or pause when you play the full song (not the 1 minute preview) for your stream to be valid & counted.
– In terms of volume, for your stream to be valid, please put it on 50% or more on the app itself.
– 1 stream per hour per user ID usually counts on most digital charts. Only 1 download per user will count.
iChart & Gaon Digital Charts
There are 2 main charts that aggregates digital chart rankings across all or majority of the Korean digital charts: instiz’s iChart and Gaon Digital charts.
instiz’s iChart collectively counts all sales/charts from online music stores and officially certify a song as All-Kill or Perfect All-Kill. It bases its chart from MelOn, Genie, FLO, VIBE, and Bugs depending on its market/user share weight.
Certified All-Kill or CAK is achieved when an artist’s song ranks #1 on all realtime hourly + daily charts.
Perfect All-Kill or PAK is achieved when an artist’s song ranks #1 on all realtime hourly + daily charts and iChart’s weekly chart.
Realtime All-Kill or RAK : It isn’t an official certification from iChart but it refers to a song ranking #1 on all realtime hourly charts.
Gaon chart provides rankings on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, which are based on an aggregate of downloads, streaming and background music. its digital charts are based on music providers such as Melon, Genie, KakaoMusic, Bugs, Samsung Music, bainil, Vibe, FLO and Soribada among others.
As of 2018, Gaon has introduced a new certification system:
DOWNLOAD Cumulative Sales Certification
PLATINUM: 2.5 million downloads
DIAMOND: 10 million downloads
STREAMING Cumulative Sales Certification
PLATINUM: 100 million streams
BILLION: 1 billion streams