Native vs world Ok-Pop streaming developments

Native vs world Ok-Pop streaming developments

South Korea’s Melon charts present a unique facet of Ok-Pop than shoppers are used to seeing on global- but decidedly Western-oriented – platforms like Apple Music.

by Rachel Saywitz of Chartmetric

In February of final yr, Spotify made its debut in South Korea, together with the launch of a world hub devoted to the nation’s most globally standard style — Ok-Pop. In an announcement celebrating the hub’s one-year anniversary, Spotify claimed “the month-to-month common Ok-Pop streams worldwide reached over 7.97 billion per 30 days, a 27{09ec5e189e295255cf41ad3cf4b9553f29f116f623045a73133932ca9ffe3aaa} improve in comparison with the yr earlier than.” Together with the Ok-pop world hub launch was the addition of a brand new Ok-Pop World chart, geared toward monitoring the most well-liked songs and artists all over the world. Apple Music received forward of the sport in South Korea a couple of years earlier when it launched Apple Music Korea in 2016, and even in its preliminary 2015 launch, the service knew the potential of Ok-Pop as a world power. On Chartmetric, you’ll find Apple Music’s Ok-Pop chart, filtered by nation to indicate the most well liked artists day by day of the week on the platform.

It’s simple to imagine given Ok-Pop’s standing as a large worldwide phenomenon that strikes simply throughout borders — in response to the Worldwide Federation of the Phonographic Trade (IFPI), it’s of the hottest world genres — that its most listened-to artists and songs can be comparatively constant all over the world. However Spotify and Apple aren’t the one music streaming providers out there in Ok-Pop’s dwelling base, nor are they the most well-liked. Melon is South Korea’s oldest and most widely-used music streaming platform, and its most listened-to songs look a bit completely different than what we would see on a Ok-Pop chart exterior of South Korea. The variations between charts on Melon and Apple Music reveal how Ok-Pop suits each inside and out of doors of Korean tradition, and so they replicate the musical historical past that formed its improvement earlier than spreading to the remainder of the globe. 

The Historical past of Melon

Earlier than we take a more in-depth take a look at why Melon’s chart is exclusive, let’s take a step again. What precisely is Melon, and the way did it grow to be South Korea’s hottest music streaming service? 

Melon was based in 2004, making it one of many oldest music-streaming providers on the earth — it’s older than Spotify. Created by SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest wi-fi provider, Melon was established as a digital product to be promoted alongside newer cell telephones that would play MP3s. In that sense, the rationale for its improvement was fairly completely different from a service like Spotify, which started as a small start-up as a approach to develop a authorized type of peer-to-peer music file sharing. It additionally implies that Melon was explicitly a home product, meant to be used solely in South Korea alongside SK Telecom’s wi-fi service. And whereas Melon has since been purchased and bought to completely different firms and fairness corporations in Asia, the service stays geared in the direction of home use: there isn’t a English model of Melon’s website, and the app is unavailable for obtain exterior of South Korea.

Evaluating Charts 

We are able to see the impacts of Melon’s native focus in its chart, particularly when evaluating it to Apple Music’s US Ok-Pop chart. Right here’s a side-by-side comparability of the 2’s high 10 from three consecutive weeks: August 14th, August twenty first, and August twenty eighth.

Native vs world Ok-Pop streaming developments

On Apple Music’s charts, we see a well-known assortment of artists — BLACKPINK takes the highest spot with their latest, effortlessly suave single, “Pink Venom,” and music from BTS all through the highest 10 emphasizes that rumors of a hiatus imply nothing to the band’s devoted followers and listeners. However Melon’s chart presents an enormous distinction between Melon and the opposite two charts proper off the bat: BTS — who sits at #2 in Chartmetric’s Korea Artist Rank — is nowhere to be present in Melon’s high 10.

In the meantime, BLACKPINK solely reveals up as soon as over these three weeks — on August twenty first, two days after “Pink Venom” was launched, the lady group at present at #1 on Chartmetric’s Korea Artist Rank didn’t even make the highest 10 of Melon, debuting at 18 on the chart. And the week after, they nonetheless didn’t take the highest spot, sitting beneath Hybe Leisure’s rookie lady group NewJeans. Melon’s high 10 has far more selection than Apple’s: Ok-Pop veteran Ladies Technology, short-term supergroups WSG Wannabe Gaya-G and Sa-Fireplace, and reliably cheerful girl-group Itzy are all absent from Spotify and Apple. 

In every week, Melon’s high 10 consists of solely Korean-language songs, and of the 30 in complete, only one may very well be labeled as non-Ok-Pop: “Past Love” by laid-back hip-hop artist BIG Naughty. This confirms that Ok-Pop as a style continues to be broadly listened to in its dwelling nation. 

But the shortage of the 2 largest Ok-Pop teams on the earth — BTS and BLACKPINK— is initially stunning, particularly when in comparison with what we see in Apple’s charts. BTS and Blackpink tracks make up over half of Apple’s high 10 for all three weeks, and of these, 68{09ec5e189e295255cf41ad3cf4b9553f29f116f623045a73133932ca9ffe3aaa} are over a yr outdated — a noteworthy share given how briskly the Ok-Pop trade places out new materials. In stark distinction, Melon has zero BTS tracks all through all its three weeks, just one BLACKPINK monitor, and none which are older than 5 months.

The South Korean Perspective on Ok-Pop

Diving deeper into Melon, we see some patterns which are price inspecting: primarily that the world perspective of what Ok-Pop is may be completely different from how these in South Korea see it. 

For instance, let’s look at some information on the highest monitor on Melon and Apple’s chart on the week of August 14th.

Observing these two tracks, we will see that “At That Second” by WSG WANNABE (Gaya-G) has a really small variety of playlist provides, Spotify streams, and YouTube views compared to BTS’ record-breaking “Dynamite.” It also needs to be famous that Gaya-G has no social media presence — no official Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube channel for any followers or informal listeners to comply with and obtain updates on. 

What Gaya-G does have is a cultural foothold that may’t be totally defined with uncooked information, and it isn’t one thing that world Ok-Pop followers are more likely to take discover of, both. The group was shaped on a South Korean selection present as a sub-unit of a Ok-Pop supergroup, WSG WANNABE. The present, Hangout With Yoo, stars one in every of South Korea’s high comedians and tv personalities, Yoo Jae-suk, as he explores numerous completely different careers within the leisure trade over the course of a season. A brand new undertaking that started in April of this yr noticed Yoo placing collectively this short-term Ok-Pop lady group of actresses and idol singers over a 4 month interval. The broadcasting of group auditions, bonding actions, music recordings, and performances all in real-time could have constructed a hyperlink between viewers of the present and eventual listeners of the group’s music. 

However even with out the built-in listener base from Hangout With Yoo’s viewers, there’s a nostalgic bent to Gaya-G that may have propelled it ahead much more. The sub-unit members got here from older Ok-Pop acts and Ok-Dramas, like member Lee Bo-Ram of the lady group SeeYa, which debuted in 2006, and Jung Ji-so, who made her debut as a toddler actress in 2012. The group’s single additionally hints at older types of standard South Korean music like trot, a style popularized within the Nineteen Sixties and 70s characterised by a repetitive one-two step (known as ppongjjak in Korea) and melancholic lyrics contrasted with playful instrumentals. Whereas “At That Second” falls extra firmly in a class of candy, effervescent folk-pop music than conventional trot, the music nonetheless evokes a sentimentality that’s clearly lifted from the basic type. 

The nostalgia extends to different standard songs and artists on Melon’s chart. NewJeans’ “Consideration,” which adopted “At That Second” at #2 on the August 14th chart earlier than rising to #1 for the following two weeks, is co-produced and organized by Korean producer 250, who makes use of pulsing digital ppongjjak beats in his personal dance music, and extends that very same time-traveling bent to his work in Ok-Pop — “Consideration” sparkles with components of New Jack Swing and 2000s R&B. Additional down on the charts for August twenty first and twenty eighth is a brand new triumphant single by Ladies’ Technology, one in every of South Korea’s high lady teams of the late ‘00s and early ‘10s who reunited final month for his or her 15-year anniversary.

It ought to be no shock that when evaluating nations with completely different native languages, native traditions, and cultural merchandise, that there are going to be main variations in how these nations view and digest these merchandise, significantly in leisure. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless hanging how South Korea’s long-standing Melon chart reveals a unique facet of one of many world’s most world, creative, and quickly rising genres.

Melon’s chart leans closely on music that was launched very just lately, has ties to cultural properties like selection tv reveals, and banks on nostalgia, visually and musically. Discovering consolation in nostalgic music isn’t distinctive to South Korea, in fact — lately, TikTok has helped some older music go viral on TikTok, and youthful listeners are listening to songs that take inspiration from previous musical eras. However figuring out that this isn’t a very new or singular phenomenon helps clarify why South Korea and the West differ of their notion of Ok-Pop. Songs like BTS’ “Dynamite” and BLACKPINK’s “DDU-DU DDU-DU” aren’t simply songs by two of Ok-Pop’s megastars — they’re additionally tracks that considerably helped transfer these artists into their world stardom. Many of the listeners in Apple’s Ok-Pop chart didn’t develop up with these artists, and even with Ok-Pop. The music that they cling to represents a style that’s nonetheless simply starting to develop past its birthplace.

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