Music Bank Chart Criteria Sparks Criticism From Fans (2022)

Music Bank Chart Criteria Sparks Criticism From Fans (2022)

On May 13th, beloved trot star Lim Youngwoong and rookie girl group LE SSERAFIM were head-to-head for the first place trophy on the popular KBS music show “Music Bank,” the result led to massive criticism of the chart and its winning criteria.

Featured Image: Screenshot from Music Bank (The Korea Herald)

Since the late 1990s music shows, like Music Bank and Inkigayo, have been staples in the Korean music industry as a way for both for fans to support their favorite artists and for those artists to be able to spread their music to unfamiliar artists.

During the music programs, artists from around the Korean music industry, including, Pop groups, Indie artists, and Trot signers, perform their tracks, and then the industry is scanned for the best performing/most relevant songs (according to each program’s unique scoring criteria) and that artist is awarded that week’s first-place trophy.

Lim Young-woong v.s LE SSERAFIM and the Music Bank Chart

On the Friday in question, Lim Youngwoong’s newest hit track “If We Ever Meet Again,” from his chart-topping full-length trot album, was far ahead of LE SSERAFIM’s debut track “FEARLESS” in digital streaming and physical album sales, however, to the surprise of viewers and fans, the rookie girl group walked away with first place thereby sparking criticism from fans.

Music Bank, like the other music shows, calculates its winners by combining a variety of factors at different percentages. Currently, the Music Bank point scores of nominated songs are calculated by combining the Digital Track Sales (60%), the Album Sales (5%), Viewer Preference (10%), the Social Media (5%), and, controversially, the Number of KBS Broadcasts which counts for 20% of the points.

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Screenshot from Music Bank (The Korea Herald)

The Number of KBS Broadcasts includes plays on KBS’ television programs, YouTube shows, radio stations, or other digital content. According to the program’s chief producer, Lim Young-Woong’s new track was not played on any of the above platforms during the counting period. As a result, LE SSERAFIM gained a winning advantage of over 800 points.

  • Note in the image above, LE SSERAFIM gained 5348 points for the Number of KBS Broadcasts whereas Lim Young-woong did not gain any points in that category

Lim fans quickly responded that, in fact, “If We Ever Meet Again” was played several times on three of KBS’ radio stations.” In explanation, the broadcaster said, “There are seven selected radio programs that we count for the broadcast scores,” implying that Lim Young-Woong’s track did not play on those programs. KBS did not go into details about which specific radio programs made up these seven.

It should be noted that most music shows count “Number of Broadcasts,” but it usually counts for far less in the final point score. For example on SBS’ “Inkigayo,” the Number of Broadcasts only counts for 10% of the points. On Inkigayo streaming and album sales counts for the majority of the score with the further inclusion of mediums like YouTube Music Video views.

  • That week’s episode of Inkigayo was won by PSY and SUGA (of BTS)’s track “That That”

On MBC’s “Show! Music Core,” the Number of Broadcasts also only counts for 10% of the score. Lim Young-Woong won “Show! Music Core” that week; LE SSERAFIM did not make the top 5.

This controversy has led fans to question the chart’s criteria, legitimacy, and the possibility of vote-rigging or preferential counting on Music Bank, as well as the validity of the “Number of Broadcast” criteria.

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Eden McLeod

Hi, Eden here! I am the main writer and publisher at ME Asia. I am a professional writer and blogger. I love creating content that can introduce future fans to incredible artists, actors, and musicians from around the globe!

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