What is your own definition of melon? Melon is not only a fruit but also is a music platform where consumers can buy a digital track and listen to it. KNUE students maybe reading this article while listening to music using this platform. Music platforms like melon occupy a huge number of shares in the public music market. Then INDIGO is going to figure out what kind of controversy is there over these platforms.
Problem of Panic buying
Have you ever seen a situation where a specific song that you never heard ranks highly in the top music charts? That song, of course, may not be your favorite, but people doubt the panic buying nowadays. Panic buying, which means to stockpile in the music market, is classified into stock albums or music resources. It was frequent that some idol groups who had relatively low popularity used panic buying to become more popular. However, the form of panic buying has been changed into the music resources since the K-POP world has been reorganized as a music resource central market. This controversy was started when three major entertainments(SM, JYP, and YG) asked for an official investigation. Moreover, in the case of Shaun’s ‘Way Back Home’, the ranking moved to top rapidly compared to other singers. As a result, the Federation of Korean Management called an official police investigation. This controversy is still so suspicious with no decisive evidence. Jang Deok Chul, Shaun, and Nilo who arouse suspicions of panic buying argue that they could rank highly in the charts because of their music and viral marketing. Then how is the viral marketing different from the panic buying? Viral marketing is a marketing method which allows consumers to promote their company or products voluntarily through SNS or mass media. In other words, they upload the video clip of singer’s performance in the music page of Facebook and climb the chart through a natural promotion effect with the ‘like’ button, post sharing, and the number of recommendations. However, some experts pose a question that ranking top through the marketing really reflects the preference or popularity of public. They regard this phenomenon as an artificial operation. To sum up, this invisible phenomenon which is hard to distinguish whether it is marketing or panic buying appears constantly.
Problem of Streaming
There is the case in which you put the music that you like in your playlist and listen to it repeatedly all day long. You might do that because you really like that song or the singer, but there is the case doing streaming with a different intention. Some might do streaming because they want their favorite artists to rank top of the charts which feeds into the rank of the music programs. There are people who raise a question why this is problematic. Melon allows people to make an infinite number of accounts, so fans of specific idol raise funds voluntarily to buy the music resource, give that music resource to others, and do streaming which is called ‘full-attack.’ This can avoid social criticism, but some assert that the shape of a rising curve is the same as panic buying. As a result, it is hard to reflect all-compassing popularity because the chart is influenced by full-attack of fandom and streaming service determines the chart-in and chart-out. Also, each fandom makes too much competition and they criticize openly which leads to unintended side effects.
Problem of profit structure
There were invisible singers who make their living with only profit from the album. However, it is hard to meet them not appearing on the TV program or festivals. PSY who shook the music market globally by Gangnam Style said that he can’t earn much only for ranking top on music charts. What is the reason, and how does it happen? The share for music resource producer when we stream one song in melon is 4.2won. The predetermined price of one song is 14 won, but a 50 percent of discount is applied when they used infinite streaming service provided by a music resource distribution company. If the commission is excluded from that company, the rest is 4.2 won. For example,‘Cheer up’ by Twice which is played about one hundred million times succeeded in making a profit of about eight hundred million won. However, the profit which is received by Twice is about 46 million won. It means one member gain only five million won when divided into nine. That is, the profit for one song per one singer has to take account for the people related to that song like writer, composer, singer, and the system like music platform, and discount as a promotion.
The public doesn’t line up in front of the album shop waiting for the release date anymore. The world is changed, and the form of listening to music is also changed clearly. It is natural that there is a music resource to which consumers send more love. However, some experts are worried about the results of the obsession of the rank top by consumers, singers, and entertainments. Results like lower the quality of music resources can happen and this can lead to another huge problem to the K-POP market. Yun Jongsin asserts that improvement of real-time charts and whole streaming of top 100 songs can solve having no taste and unconscious music playlists. He said, “Charts mirror the phenomenon of our society, but charts make the phenomenon these days which leads to having a reckless goal to chart in.” He is talking about not only the attitude of the public as a consumer of music resources but emphasizes the need for solutions in terms of the system.
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