JTBC News recently reported on the controversial topic of sajaegi (chart manipulation) within the music industry, claiming that they have spotted thousands of suspicious MelOn accounts and raised questions on possible chart manipulation for not just rookie groups, but for veteran idol groups as well.
The report started off stating that a rookie group, which just debuted in the middle of this month, released their debut song which garnered much attention, even topping the MelOn music chart in just one hour.
The report continued that the reporting team analyzed 30,000 accounts that were registered as fans of the group. The analysis revealed that they have found at least 1,300 suspicious accounts that could be ghost IDs as they all have identical or similar IDs (just the last #’s are changed).
The majority of these accounts happen to only like the group’s recent song and are only registered as a fan of that specific group. This is suspicious as normal accounts have various songs on their ‘liked’ playlist and are fans of multiple artists.
Similar situations have been found to be true for not only rookie groups but also veteran idol groups. According to the report, an idol group, which released a comeback track in July of this year, had over 20,000 suspicious accounts to their name on MelOn.
Another veteran idol group that released a new track back in June of this year had over 40,000 suspicious accounts to its name, as well.
One representative from an entertainment agency refuted, “If we wanted to keep the song on top for a long time, we would have continued to do something about it. The song just remained on the top spot for less than a day.“
Another rep from a different label revealed that the company receives at least five or more calls from companies that specialize in sajaegi when their idols release a new album. The rep said, “We get a lot of offers from viral marketing or sajaegi companies. They say that they will keep the song on top for a week while listing prices for that offer. When there is an album release, we receive at least five to ten calls.”
The two groups that are under suspicion of sajaegi are rumored to be BTOB and iKONas the news reports’ use of blurred album covers and artist IDs in the URL are similar to those of the aforementioned groups. However, fans are furiously refuting the claims on Twitter, claiming that the reports are making false accusations without definite proof.
Following the news broadcast, the topic of ‘sajaegi’ trended worldwide on Twitter.