It is more difficult to enter Korea’s domestic streaming platform Melon’s Top 100 Chart than the U.S. Billboard Chart.
It’s a story that is constantly mentioned in the idol market these days. What happened to Melon’s “Top 100” chart, a domestic streaming platform, which has become harder than the Billboard chart, which was considered a “dream stage” in the past?
With K-pop growing on the global music market, it is not difficult to see K-Pop idol groups being listed on the U.S. Billboard chart at the same time as their comeback. Recently, many teams have even succeeded in entering the Billboard charts with their debut singles.
Of course, in the case of Billboard’s main charts which are “Billboard 200” and “Hot 100,” only some of the hottest idol groups in Korea have entered, but it is still a remarkable achievement that many K-pop idol groups are doing well on Billboard’s charts.
However, the atmosphere on the domestic Melon chart is quite different. It is not easy to dominate the charts as soon as the new songs are released, except for a few groups that have already been listed as popular. Before the Melon chart was reorganized into how it is today, many idol groups were able to easily climb to the top rankings as soon as their new albums were released, indicating how impactful the changes are.
For example, LE SSERAFIM emphasized on how its name was on the Melon Daily Top 100 chart on the 29th of last month. That’s because LE SSERAFIM’s record was the best among girl group debut songs released this year based on the Melon Daily Chart.
Considering that many girl groups have made their debut this year, and there were many groups that boast high achievements as well, it is understandable why they gave such a big meaning to their 10th place on Melon’s “Top 100.” What’s more surprising is that LE SSERAFIM, who had attracted a lot of attention even before its debut, was ranked 10th through a steady rise in rankings for a month since its debut on May 2nd. Considering how the group succeeded in charting on Billboard and Oricon charts in Japan early on (even ranking #1 on Oricon in the weekly combined album ranking) makes the public realize the high and difficult wall of the Melon’s “Top 100.”
Melon’s “Top 100” entry barrier is hard for idols. The reason is?
Why are idols struggling on the Melon chart like this? First of all, it is necessary to look at Melon’s “Top 100” aggregation method.
The tally of Melon’s main chart, “Top 100,” is made by combining 50% of the usage in the last 24 hours and 50% of the usage in the last hour. The usage is based on 40% streaming and 60% download (reflecting 100% of the last 24 hours’ usage between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. to prevent chart distortion), and the ranking is updated every hour.
Compared to “Melon 24Hits”, which was introduced earlier to eradicate the controversy of chart-hoarding, the “Top 100” chart decreased the proportion of “recent usage in the last 24 hours”, which is an indicator of popularity, but this was not enough to thwart its influence. Still, it is undeniable that the new system has affected the core of various idol groups, and lessen the influence of mass-streaming among Kpop fandoms.
Another reason lies in the limited popularity of Kpop idol groups.
The music from idol groups, which in the past tended to be enjoyed simply for musicality, has since expanded outside of the musical spectrum, with members’ presence being known to more people. However, it is still by no means easy for all idol groups to stay popular with the public, especially when their main target is their fandom.
As a result, the Melon’s “Top 100” chart is not easy for Kpop idols, and a vast majority of Kpop artists can’t seem to get chart-ins with their releases. To be able to get on the chart, claim the top sport, and rule over it for a long period of time, is now only feasible for a small numer of groups with great popularity and topicality, such as BTS or BIGBANG.
However, this does not mean that all idol groups’ songs will automatically be eliminated from Melon’s “Top 100”.
For example, according to the Melon daily Top 100 chart on June 8th, (G)-IDLE’s “Tomboy” and IVE’s “Love Dive” were ranked respectively at 2nd and 3rd. In addition, other groups such as LE SSERAFIM, Red Velvet, aespa, SEVENTEEN, and so on, seemed to also be doing well in the Top 30. Even more surprising, many of the groups are still considered “rookies” in the industry.
In the end, what do these groups, who achieved remarkable results in spite of various limitations, have in common? They ultimately suggest the goal that every Kpop idol, or singers in general, should aim for: a good song that can overcome the intense “Top 100” competition.
These groups’ songs did not miss out on addictiveness, musicality, and skills, and thus, have succeeded in capturing the ears of the public, instead of just within fandoms. The key to the public heart is just that simple, good and catchy songs.