Korea’s national music chart Gaon published its 2015 half-year charts mid-July. A few indie acts showed up on the various weekly charts from January through June, but fewer made it all the way to the half-year listings.
Gaon Korean Album Chart
The Korean boy bands were doing very well in the album sales department from January till June this year, according to Gaon’s Korean album 2015 half-year chart. One would have to go all the way down to #18 and Red Velvet to find a release not credited to a an idol boy band or (former) member thereof. Here’s the top 3:
1. EXO – Exodus (Korean version) [482,438 sales]
2. EXO – Love Me Right (The 2nd Album Repackage) [268,821 sales]
3. SHINee – Odd (The 4th Album) [179,823 sales]
On the indie side of things, the soundtrack for tvN hit office drama Misaeng (미생) including songs from songs from Han Hee Jung, Rose Motel, Yi Sung Yol and others was the only album to make the half-year chart, thanks to strong sales in January following the soundtrack’s release during Christmas 2014.
|Half-Year Rank||Album||Sales||Monthly Ranks|
|82||Misaeng (미생) OST||4,704||14-x-x-x-x-x|
Even so, there have been plenty of indie titles showing up on the monthly album chart during the same period of time. Hyukoh‘s 2nd EP 22 has been doing very well in spite of not being released until very late in May. Total best-seller that still didn’t make the half-year chart, however, was The Black Skirts‘ 1-track single Hollywood released in April.
|January||92||10cm - 3.0||387|
|February||48||2nd Moon - 그동안 뭐하고 지냈니?||703|
|February||96||Burstered - Independent||341|
|March||53||Busker Busker - 버스커 버스커 1집||920|
|April||20||The Black Skirts - Hollywood||2,670|
|April||81||Busker Busker - 버스커 버스커 1집||540|
|April||84||Fromm - Moonbow||532|
|April||97||Coffee Boy - 힘내||451|
|May||32||Hyukoh - 22||1,620|
|May||46||Okdal - 희한한 시대||960|
|May||86||Standing Egg - Young||412|
|June||46||Hyukoh - 22||878|
|June||89||Acoustic Collabo - I Do||287|
|June||90||Bily Acoustie - 미세매력주의보||286|
|June||91||Pippi Band - pppb||286|
Gaon Korean Digital Chart
Gaon’s digital chart combines the results of Gaon’s download, streaming and background music charts. In addition to the digital chart itself, only the streaming and background charts are also published on half-year basis. The big winner so far this year on all three charts has been Naul‘s “같은 시간 속의 너” from Brown Eyed Soul‘s first single project, released in the beginning of February.
1. Naul – “같은 시간 속의 너”
2. EXO – “Call Me Baby”
3. Big Bang – “Loser“
Looking to the names that will ring more familiar with those invested in Korean indie music of the coffee shop flavor, remarkably all songs to show up on the digital, download and streaming charts for the first 6 months of 2015 were all released in 2014 or earlier.
|Half-Year Rank||Song||Monthly Ranks|
|45||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"||x-x-13-21-62-x|
|84||Acoustic Collabo - "너무 보고 싶어"||97-82-89-88-94-92|
|94||Acoustic Collabo - "묘해, 너와"||96-81-87-92-x-x|
Although not making it all the way to the half-year chart, 10cm‘s “쓰담쓰담” kept a presence on the monthly chart January-March, whereas Busker Busker‘s “꽃송이가” appeared in the lower decile of the digital chart from March to April.
Gaon Korean Download Chart
Looking to the 2015 half-year download chart, it would appear as if downloads are weighted relatively higher than streams when it comes to determining the overall. digital ranking.
1. Naul – “같은 시간 속의 너” [1,100,327 downloads]
2. Big Bang – “Loser” [966,800 downloads]
3. Mad Soul Child – “화” (feat. Jinsil of Mad Soul Child) [950,469 downloads]
Even 3 years after the release, Busker Busker’s “벚꽃 엔딩 ” returned as the ultimate spring song–making enough of an impact to land in the upper half of the half-year download chart in spite of only being visible on the corresponding monthly chart for 3 months.
|Half-Year Rank||Song||Downloads||Monthly Ranks|
|44||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"||501,820||x-x-12-31-71-x|
|84||Acoustic Collabo - "너무 보고 싶어"||314,851||x-82-99-97-x-x|
|91||Acoustic Collabo - "묘해, 너와"||298,856||x-81-96-98-x-x|
|93||10cm - "쓰담쓰담"||287,895||46-65-89-x-x-x|
Complementing “벚꽃 엔딩”, Busker Busker’s “꽃송이가” could be found on the lower half of the download chart from March to April also in 2015. Meanwhile, Hyukoh’s “와리가리” could be spotted at #97 on the download chart for June with a download count of 57,641.
Gaon Korean Streaming Chart
While the download chart generally appears to have more in common with the overall digital chart, Gaon’s
2015 half-year streaming chart exhibits a few differences–at least in the top.
1. Naul – “같은 시간 속의 너” [60,470,387 streams]
2. EXID – “위아래” [54,077,362 streams]
3. Noel – “목소리” [48,563,434 streams]
From an indie perspective, the streaming chart for the first half-year of 2015 looks quite similar to the download chart:
|Half-Year Rank||Song||Streams||Monthly Ranks|
|31||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"||28,063,705||x-x-8-14-36-x|
|66||Acoustic Collabo - "너무 보고 싶어"||18,886,857||66-62-71-69-78-77|
|72||Acoustic Collabo - "묘해, 너와"||17,432,237||65-60-68-72-86-x|
|87||10cm - "쓰담쓰담"||14,604,887||37-50-78-x-x-x|
Much like with the download chart, Busker Busker’s “꽃송이가” made an appearance also on the streaming chart for the month of April.
Although not completely qualifying as a k-indie listing on its own (based on my subjective criteria) Epik High’s “헤픈엔딩 (Happen Ending)” also deserves a mention as it features Joe Won Sun of Roller Coaster fame. With 275,824 downloads it finished 97th on the Korean 2015 half-year download chart, but ranked as highly as #76 on the streaming chart with a total of 16,977,664 streams.
I expect Hyukoh to be much higher on the end of the year charts, since they’ve started to chart really well lately with their Infinity Challenge appearances. It’d be interesting to see how things would change by then!
I expect the same. They should be placing higher already on the July chart, then let’s see :)