Do idol fanclubs manipulate and distort music rankings?
Korea’s major music analyst site Hanteo Charts recently posted a notification on their site requesting fanclubs of popular idol groups to refrain from calling their offices.
Fans have been arguing that sales rankings for their favorite artists were ‘off’, and began calling the company nonstop for an explanation.
2PM fans in particular were outraged by the rankings. They argued, “The hoarding purchase that our fanclub made was not properly reflected on the rankings.” According to reports, 2PM’s fanclub had spent $150,000 USD on a mass order for 2PM’s latest album, “Still 2:00 PM“, and were highly concerned over their purchase being excluded from Hanteo’s charts.
Hanteo clarified, “Whenever there is a large rush in sales for one album, we put off reflecting it in the charts in order to check and confirm that it was a legitimate purchase. This information will be sent to the broadcast companies.”
Fans mass-ordering albums to make sure that their favorite artists rank in on music programs is not a new phenomenon. Their actions have become very precise in the way it is organized; fanclub leaders set up individual sites dedicated to bulk-ordering albums in order to give a quick bump in rankings for their artists.
Any popular fanclub usually averages about $600,000 USD in bulk purchases per promotion cycle. Hanteo’s representative revealed, “There are a lot of idol fandoms that buy even more than that at once. Admins of these fansites will set up goals, the most popular goal of getting their artist a #1 trophy, and move accordingly in order to accomplish those goals.”
Fanclub admins will use the albums purchased by giving them out for free to staff members of music programs and other shows their idols appear on.
Unfortunately, these mass purchases distort the actual rankings. One fanclub was recently found to have manipulated the streaming feature of music sites by holding a ‘mass streaming’ event. Admins would receive user IDs of their members and have someone login for a member and stream for them when that member was sleeping or out.
Music industry representatives highly disapprove of such actions, arguing that they are doing nothing but manipulating the digital music charts and distorting the true reflection of the industry. These actions leave artists without stronger fanbases behind and make it unlikely for them to enter the ranking charts at all.
Fanclub wars also stimulate the use of these guerilla tactics as well; the most recent case involved rumors about JYJ’s album sales falling behind SM Entertainment artists, causing a surge of JYJ fans to purchase more albums. Many believed that SME bought back their own albums in order to manipulate the rankings and reflect a higher album sale. Fortunately, the rumor was put to rest when it was later found that JYJ’s international sales weren’t reflected in the rankings until much later.
Source + Photo: Kuki News