Update: On January 22nd, MYoongi_0309 posted on Twitter an English translation of a conversation a fan had with a customer care Representative from MelOn. Streams and downloads made outside of Korea will reflect on MelOn’s charts despite the fact they block foreign IP address. As long as the song plays from beginning to end, you didn’t encounter any errors while downloading and you have stable Internet, your streams/downloads will count.
If you’re an international K-pop fan that has been streaming on MelOn, Naver or Genie, you’re streams may not have actually been counted.
International BTS fans recently asked Korean ARMYs (BTS’ official fanclub name) if their streams on Korean music sites counted. ARMYs were able to contact MelOn through their customer care hotline and they said they were told that streams or downloads from other countries DO NOT count towards their chart rankings due to IP block (credit: MYoongi_0309):
Keep in mind that this affects all Korean artists, not just BTS. MelOn has yet to release an official statement on the matter (and probably won’t either).
It sucks because a lot of international fans spend a lot of money buying passes so they can stream on MelOn. And because there are a lot of artists who are more popular internationally than domestically, like Seventeen and GOT7, international fans want to help boost their popularity in their home country. But at the same time, MelOn, Naver and Genie are domestic services and these are Korean music charts. They’re supposed to reflect what’s popular in Korea. How can you figure out what’s popular in Korean music if other countries are able to exert influence in their charts?
I know many international fans are feeling helpless right now, but you’re not. You can still show your support by streaming on Spotify and YouTube. You can buy their albums on iTunes, Google Play or Amazon.
If you don’t live in the US, research how songs rank on the music charts in your country, how the data is collected and see where you can stream/download songs from your favorite K-pop artist to support them.
Perhaps if international fans are able to get K-pop artists to rank on our music charts, maybe get them nominated for our award ceremonies, Korean companies see how much influence we’ve had on their charts/awards. Instead of saying “Why doesn’t so-and-so come over here?”, we make their agencies send them over here, just like Japanese and Chinese fans did (how else did you think Chinese and Japanese K-pop fans get were able to get special treatment)?