Industry says midnight releases distorting music charts

SEOUL-- Midnight has recently become the go-to release window for major South Korean idol singers putting out new music online. But this may soon change as the industry-at-large is seeing it as unfair, according to officials Thursday.

Melon, Mnet, Genie and Bugs Music plan to revamp their methodologies in aggregating real-time charts, measuring performances for only six hours -- from noon to 6 p.m. -- from the current around-the-clock gauging.

Anything released outside of the six hours will be measured starting at 1 p.m. the following day. This new model will take effect as early as later this month.

The website for Melon, South Korea's largest music streaming service (Yonhap) The website for Melon, South Korea's largest music streaming service (Yonhap)

The decisions come as the culture ministry sent a request to the Korea Music Content Industry Association (KMCIA) in December, asking the trade group to address concerns of chart hogging by top-billed artists.

"Similar to the abolishing of 'music recommendations' within services over controversies of hampering fairness, we needed a reform to prevent the distorting of charts from midnight releases," said KMCIA director Choi Kwang-ho.

Putting out songs during such wee hours can and does affect the performance on real-time charts.

While most users are sleeping, the charts become susceptible to hardcore fans flooding a service to buoy a certain song or artist. Record labels then blast out press releases touting their artists' feat to dominate early entertainment news cycles.

Big idol groups have favored midnight releases, with not just the title track but others on new albums dominating several charts, most recently seen after the release of the new album from BTS (Bangtan Boys).

Midnight releases also force employees at streaming companies to work late at night.

Loen Entertainment, which operates Melon, South Korea's largest music streaming company, said, "The release window will remain at the discretions of labels and artists" but that the decision "will hopefully lead to the reduction of midnight releases."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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