If you are a user of music chart applications or sites such as Bugs or Melon, the so-called “song lining” phenomenon should be quite familiar. Song lining is the result of fans (often idol stars) endlessly streaming songs of a comeback album released at midnight by using a multiple number of accounts. Pros and cons toward this issue have always existed, and this February, the Ministry of Culture has already attempted reformation through the enactment of a policy preventing album release at midnight. But it turns out the reformation process is not well aimed at what is truly problematic at the status quo. The controversy over how the issue must be approached, and whether to seek for a fundamental solution is still a heatedly ongoing matter.
Then how was the “music chart reformation” done, exactly? In order to keep a curb on midnight streaming, the Ministry of Culture simply decided to reflect albums released only from noon to 6 o’clock in the afternoon on real-time charts of that day. For those released at midnight, albums are to be ranked on the chart only after 1 o’clock in the afternoon of the very next day. The Ministry of Culture founded such reformation upon the necessity to alleviate the song lining phenomenon. Considering how harshly the music industry has suffered from past album sweeping problems as well, this hardline approach towards the current issue is quite understandable.
However, the Ministry of Culture’s music chart reformation is only a display of their complacency, failing in the search for a fundamental solution while shifting responsibilities to the wrong place. In fact, unless brokers are hired, as was done in the case of album sweeping, music streaming is not illegal in that fans consume preferred songs in uncontroversial manners. Also, the lining of songs is only a temporal phenomenon since the great demand for pre-existing “music” soon normalizes the charts again. The Ministry of Culture claims the responsibility for “unfair competition” is on fans and singers. Although it is true song lining may temporarily invade on the rights to pursue diversity and fairness in deciding which music to listen to, a careful investigation on the cause must come first. It is meaningless to blame the results, not the cause, since it would not necessarily solve the root of the problem.
There must be a reformation ion the music chart companies that instigate excessive, unnecessary competition in the music market. Foreign music charts such as iTunes or Apple Music do run real time charts, but it does not seem their competition for higher ranks is in any way more severe than that in Korea. It is disputable over how domestic companies develop systems such as the “5-minute Chart” or “Kick through the Roof”, which are competitions intended to boost rivalry in the field of music. Music is evaluated not on its quality, but by its rank! Unless the obsession towards higher rankings is relieved, there will be no background for truly “good” music. Therefore, reformation must be targeted at the roots of competition, not simply on the release dates of new albums. < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >