Billboard ‘Duplicate purchase of music, counting only 1 per week’ K-pop fandom concerns

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The US Billboard charts changed the rules in the new year to significantly limit duplicate downloads of music sources in chart rankings. Accordingly, K-pop agencies targeting the global market are also paying attention.

According to Billboard on the 25th, from this year, only one download per week will be accepted from the chart counting target, and duplicate downloads of two or more will be excluded. Previously, up to 4 cases per week were included in the count.

In the case of an album, it is $3.49 (about 4,168 won), and in the case of a mini-album (EP) containing eight songs or less, it is excluded from the counter if it is less than $0.39 (about 466 won). This is interpreted as a way to prevent a ‘trick’ that increases sales by setting the price of a sound source low.

Billboard did not explain the specific background of this action, but some K-pop fandoms are concerned. This is because, unlike local American artists, where streaming is the mainstay, K-pop artists have shown strength in downloads with the power of their fandom on their backs.

Last year’s BTS’ ‘Butter’ topped Billboard’s main singles chart ‘Hot 100’ for ten weeks, and according to the 2021 US music market annual report released by Billboard and MRC Data, about 1889,000 downloads were done. It was the only song with over 1 million downloads last year. Black Pink Lisa’s solo songs ‘Larisa’ and ‘Money,’ who entered the Hot 100 last year, and Twice’s first English single ‘The Feels’ were also based on an intense fandom.

In this situation, if duplicate downloads are excluded from the count, the importance of streaming and radio broadcasting will increase. It is analyzed that it will be disadvantageous for K-pop artists. An official from an extensive music agency said, “Limiting the number of downloads will likely affect rankings in the future.” “Billboard has changed its standards little by little at the beginning of every year. It doesn’t seem to be aimed only at domestic singers,” he said. He added, “It is difficult to feel the change yet, but we will monitor the trend and respond.”

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