[Credit : allkpop.com]
The flood of girl groups this year might actually be doing some damage to the music industry (besides saturating the idol market). Netizens are raising suspicions over manipulated album sales statistics from three girl groups, and consequently, Hanteo – an album sales anaylst site – has become the center of hot attention.
Apparently, netizens spotted sudden spikes in album sales from the Brave Girls, Rainbow, and4minute, which caused some concerned discussions on various community boards as to whether companies were actually buying back their albums to create an ‘all-kill’ effect. Because the Korean music market isn’t as strong as it could be, it only takes a few thousand sales to achieve that much-coveted ‘all-kill’ title.
In effect, all it would take for an agency to bump their rookies to the next level is to spend a little extra money to help push false reports about ‘all-kill’ titles, and hopefully grab a music program trophy in the process.
But where did it all begin?
It all started with Brave Girls suddenly dominating charts overnight with over 4,000 in album sales. It’s a feat that they cleared barely a week into their debut, while senior girl groups with established fanbases like SISTAR and SECRET took much longer to achieve those same numbers.
Netizens have been watching as Rainbow followed with a sudden spike in sales. Soon after, 4minute recorded nearly 5,000 sales in just under two days to keep up with the others on the charts.
On Hanteo, a netizen wrote, “Because Brave Girls is buying back their own albums, Rainbow is now forced to keep up and have bought back their own albums in the second week of their promotions. 4minute is also competing for that #1 title so of course, they are starting to buy it back as well. Even if artists win #1 on charts, we need to keep it quiet to prevent this.”
Another netizen wrote, “What exactly are they going to do with all of the albums they bought back? Despite it being such a blatant case of buying back their own albums, they’re claiming it’s not. Now people are accusing f(x) of buying back because they’re the next girl group comeback.”
An anonymous industry representative said, “These days, album sales are an indication of a fandom’s strength. To rookies that have yet to establish a name or fanbase for themselves, it’s only natural that accusations of buying back albums will follow when they suddenly dominate album charts. It’s reality.”