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fromis_9’s suspicious digital scores discussed by KOMCA Head Secretary, revealing a sneaky method

fromis_9 recently won against TWICE Nayeon, but their high digital scores may be a result of cheating, according to KOMCA Head Secretary Choi Kwang Ho. 

Recently, fromis_9 latest title “Stay This Way” was ranked no.14 on this week’s Gaon Digital charts. However, the song hasn’t been doing so well on Korean music platforms, as it is unable to get into Top 100 Melon Daily and struggling to land in Genie and Flo’s Top 200. 

So, where has the 14th position come from?

Intense suspicions over fromis_9’s digital scores has prompted the Head Secretary of KOMCA (Korea Music Copyright Association), Choi Kwang Ho, to analyze such a  phenomenon. According to him, fandoms of various artists other than fromis_9 also utilize a particular strategy to win. 

The secret is to use the music platform Bugs, and do everything in repeat: Register, Download, Delete Account, then Register Again. Bugs doesn’t recognize such a loop, but other platforms do, and if you do this on Melon, Genie, or Flo, your activities will be reported as ‘abnormal’ and measures will be implemented if you attempt to continue”, Choi Kwang Ho shared. 

The secretary explained: “This may sound like an exaggeration, but with such a method, one person can download 1.31 million won (around $1,000) worth of the same song. Each download costs 770 won (including 10% tax), which means one person can download a song up to 1700 times. While seemingly unbelievable, this is a completely possible method.”

He also added: “Gaon Digital charts calculated its score using revenues, and it costs around 3 won per stream and 700 won per download, which means one download is equivalent to around 233 streams. If you do the math, 1700 downloads is worth around 396,100 streams. Therefore, with the current Gaon system, a person alone can contribute around 400,000 streams to their favorite idol’s songs by taking advantage of the loop hole on Bugs.”

Meanwhile, the total of daily streams on Melon, the most popular music platform in Korea, can’t even surpass 400,000 streams. This means that one person on Bugs can defeat the entire public on Melon, and high ranks on the Melon Daily chart don’t mean high scores on music shows. 

Mr. Choi then highlighted that such blatant manipulation needs to be stopped, saying: “Of course, if it’s that easy, then everyone is going to do it. But what can we do if music platforms themselves don’t ban such actions? Can they fix it? In fact, Bugs itself stated that if you tried to register many accounts in a short period, then you will be banned from further registration. So, this style of streaming is clearly not allowed. But Bugs still hasn’t fixed their loophole.” 

According to Choi Kwang Ho, fans can use Bugs, fake their age as under 14 (as minors don’t need to verify their identity on this music platform), and then continuously delete and register new accounts. Such an action is a clear manipulation of the music charts, and can rig shows like M Countdown and Music Core, which use data from Gaon Digital charts to calculate their digital scores. 

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