Korea’s national music chart Gaon published the overall charts for 2016 back in January. Gaon provided another look back at 2016 last week, February 22nd, as the winners of the 6th annual Gaon Chart Music Awards were announced.
Gaon Korean Album Chart
Much like in 2015 the Korean boy bands had a good year in 2016 according to Gaon’s Korean album chart. Although EXO did not manage to sell the most copies of a single album throughout 2016, the group and related units/members did claim an impressive six entries in the top 10 alone. The female idol presence is considerably weaker with only two entries from Twice and a solo-release from Girl’s Generations‘ Taeyeon to be found anywhere in the first 25 positions. Here’s the top 3:
1. BTS – Wings [751,301 sales]
2. EXO – EX’ACT (Korean version) [549,378 sales]
3. EXO – For Life (Winter Special Album 2016) [438,481 sales]
Not a single indie album made the 2016 Korean album chart, i.e. selling more than 21,278 copies. Going over all the album charts throughout the year it appears as if Bolbbalgan4‘s first full-length album Red Planet was the bestseller in the indie category with a total of 11,149 copies sold throughout the year. Had there actually been more copies to go around Jang Beom June‘s second solo album might have done even better, as it sold a total of 10,000 CDs in March.
6th Gaon Chart Music Awards: Physical
Predictably, due to relatively low sales numbers, no indie releases had been nominated for either of the quarterly physical media sales awards during the 6th Gaon Chart Music Awards.
Gaon Korean Digital Chart
Gaon’s digital chart combines the results of Gaon’s download, streaming and background music charts.
While the album chart may be mostly about boy bands the digital chart allows a bit more room for female artists as well as male artists operating outside of the idol spectrum. Twice and GFriend both came out of 2016 as two of the most popular girl groups at the moment, as is evidenced by their placement at the very top of Gaon’s digital chart. Rock ballad group M.C The Max made a comeback in January 2016 with the band’s 8th album lead track hitting just the right notes.
Bolbbalgan4 first made an appearance on Gaon’s digital chart in 2014 after contributing a song to the soundtrack of tvN drama Misaeng (미생) but it appears as though it was not until the female acoustic duo’s first full-length album was released that the general public took notice. Both album lead tracks managed to place on the total digital chart for 2016.
On the first of April, long-time Gaon chart favorite 10cm released digital single 3.2 featuring self-pity track “봄이 좋냐?? (What The Spring??)” that with its rejection of positive spring sentiments became popular enough to outlast the season.
Former Busker Busker leader Jang Beom June cleverly timed the release of his second solo album to the time of the year when Busker Busker’s music is the most popular. Although most songs from the album showed up on the chart at one point or another the album opening track proved to be the more popular song from the 2CD release.
Although spring is a popular song motive, come August Standing Egg put out digital single Summer Night You And I and showed that also summer themed songs can amass large attention from coffee shop music lovers.
Throughout the first half 2016 Guckkasten vocalist Ha Hyun Woo made a name for himself under the Music General alias on King of Mask Singer (복면가왕). While consistently popular for as long as he appeared on the show, his cover of The Cross‘ “Don’t Cry” in a March episode turned out to have the most overall appeal.
Interesting to note is that four of the ten indie related entries on the overall digital chart for 2016 were released prior to 2016: Hyukoh leader Oh Hyuk‘s Lee Moon Sae cover for tvN drama Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988) was released end of 2015 and remained popular also as 2016 began; the lead track off Mate vocalist Jung Joonil‘s 2011 solo album rose to popularity in May 2016 after getting covered by BtoB‘s Sungjae; 10cm’s third full-length album lead track “스토커” has remained consistently popular since the release in November 2014; and Korea’s spring favorite “벚꽃 엔딩” from Busker Busker showed no signs of decreasing popularity during the year that just passed.
|13 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "우주를 줄게"|
|21 [new]||10cm - "봄이 좋냐??"|
|39 [+19]||Oh Hyuk - "소녀"|
|47 [new]||Jung Joonil - "안아줘"|
|53 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "나만 안되는 연애"|
|62 [hot]||10cm - "스토커"|
|66 [new]||Jang Beom June -"사랑에 빠졌죠 (당신만이)"|
|89 [new]||Standing Egg - "여름밤에 우린"|
|94 [new]||Ha Hyun Woo (우리동네 음악대장) - "Don't Cry"|
|98 [-4]||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"|
6th Gaon Chart Music Awards: Digital
Gaon’s Song of the Month awards consider the popularity of songs during the 30 days after the song was released, meaning that the nominees may not necessarily match the songs that were topping the respective monthly charts.
A few indie songs managed well enough to be nominated:
Jang Beom June’s “그녀가 곁에 없다면 (Without You By My Side)” managed to claim the title for Song of March while the other months were claimed by various idol groups.
Though not winning any digital award during the 6th Gaon Chart Music Awards, Bolbbalgan4 did claim the award for Indie Discovery of the Year.
Gaon Korean Download Chart
Looking to the top 3 of the Korean download chart for 2016 it’s same songs as from the overall digital chart with positions rotated.
On the indie side of things, the entries from the digital chart are all the same as found on the download chart.
|21 [new]||10cm - "봄이 좋냐??"||1,249,737|
|23 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "우주를 줄게"||1,237,970|
|37 [+18]||Oh Hyuk - "소녀"||957,439|
|41 [new]||Jung Joonil - "안아줘"||926,696|
|45 [hot]||10cm - "스토커"||913,061|
|56 [new]||Jang Beom June - "사랑에 빠졌죠 (당신만이)"||823,415|
|57 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "나만 안되는 연애"||822,713|
|77 [+13]||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"||728,850|
|90 [new]||Ha Hyun Woo (우리동네 음악대장) - "Don't Cry"||688,095|
|99 [new]||Standing Egg - "여름밤에 우린"||651,602|
Gaon Korean Streaming Chart
The top 3 songs on the Korean streaming chart for 2016 are all the same as on the overall digital chart, even replicating the positions.
From an indie perspective, the streaming chart for 2016 are again the same songs as on the overall digital chart, albeit with different rankings:
|12 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "우주를 줄게"||72,134,561|
|25 [new]||10cm - "봄이 좋냐??"||60,600,250|
|33 [+47]||Oh Hyuk - "소녀"||54,631,997|
|44 [new]||Jung Joonil - "안아줘"||45,472,843|
|49 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "나만 안되는 연애"||41,796,065|
|53 [hot]||10cm - "스토커"||41,339,146|
|75 [new]||Jang Beom June - "사랑에 빠졌죠 (당신만이)"||34,532,294|
|80 [new]||Standing Egg - "여름밤에 우린"||33,421,436|
|97 [-12]||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"||29,441,572|
|98 [new]||Ha Hyun Woo (우리동네 음악대장) - "Don't Cry"||28,877,880|
Gaon Korean BGM Chart
The top positions on Gaon’s background music chart for 2016 all hail from KBS drama Descendants of the Sun (태양의 후예), which was a huge hit while it was broadcast in the beginning of the year.
Also among the indie tracks on the BGM chart there’s a clear preference for titles familiar from TV–only Bolbbalgan4 and Busker Busker charted with songs first released as part of their regular albums. The songs listed from Kim Yuna, Jang Beom June, and Jeong Cha Sik are all singles contributed to the soundtrack of tvN drama Signal (시그널). Ha Hyun Woo’s entries on the BGM chart for 2016 stem from his participation on King of Mask Singer (복면가왕). And the song from The Black Skirts was released as part of the soundtrack of tvN drama Another Miss Oh (또 오해영)
|11 [new]||Kim Yuna - "길"|
|26 [new]||Ha Hyun Woo (우리 동네 음악대장) - "백만송이 장미"|
|46 [new]||Jang Beom June - "회상"|
|48 [new]||Ha Hyun Woo (우리동네 음악대장) - "Don't Cry"|
|56 [new]||Ha Hyun Woo (우리동네 음악대장) - "걱정말아요 그대"|
|57 [new]||Ha Hyun Woo (우리동네 음악대장) - "일상으로의 초대"|
|65 [hot]||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"|
|82 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "우주를 줄게"|
|91 [new]||Jeong Cha Sik - "나는 너를"|
|93 [new]||The Black Skirts - "기다린 만큼, 더"|
Gaon Mobile Chart
Unlike Gaon’s other charts, the mobile chart does not separate Korean and foreign entries, which is why Justin Bieber can be found in the top.
Apink‘s Eunji collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Hareem for the lead track of her first solo album, and while the song made it to #15 on Gaon’s digital chart for 2016 it scored even higher on Gaon’s mobile charts for 2016.
Gaon Ringtone Top 3 2016:
Gaon Ringback Tone Top 3 2016:
The mobile charts exhibits some more variation than the various digital charts. Here we find not just the two lead tracks from Bolbbalgan4’s first album, but also one of the lead tracks off the duo’s first EP. Additionally there are the longstanding ringback tone favorites from One More Chance and Acoustic Collabo, released in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
|32 [new]||12 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "우주를 줄게"|
|78 [-28]||69 [+32]||Busker Busker - "벚꽃 엔딩"|
|79 [new]||75 [new]||Kim Yuna - "길"|
|-||16 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "심술"|
|-||39 [new]||Standing Egg - "여름밤에 우린"|
|-||40 [-32]||One More Chance - "널 생각해"|
|-||54 [hot]||Acoustic Collabo - "응원가"|
|-||73 [new]||Jung Joonil - "안아줘"|
|-||87 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "나만 안되는 연애"|
Gaon Korean Noraebang Chart
Gaon’s Noraebang chart is generally more slow-moving than the rest and the same is reflected also on the noraebang chart for 2016. While the first spot is claimed by a song that proved its popularity also on the digital chart during 2016 other entries near the top are not quite as fresh. Lee Juck‘s Deulgukhwa cover for tvN drama Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988) was released in 2015 whereas Han Dong Geun saw his best ranked single released in 2014.
Similarly, only two of the indie related entries on the year-end noraebang chart were released in 2016. The three entries that did better are primarily the same songs that have been popular the various digital charts. As Jung Joonil’s “안아줘” rose in popularity also the lead track off his second solo album saw a boost in popularity around Korea’s karaoke rooms.
Busker Busker’s Panic cover from the trio’s days on Superstar K3 in 2011 has lived well on the noraebang chart regardless of season. Though the highest longevity among indie titles on the noraebang chart is displayed by Cherry Filter’s karaoke classic, the lead track from the band’s second full-length album, released in 2002. We’ll have to wait till next year to see if any of the newer songs has any staying power to speak of.
|7 [hot]||Jung Joonil - "안아줘"|
|12 [hot]||10cm - "스토커"|
|21 [hot]||Oh Hyuk - "소녀"|
|51 [new]||Bolbbalgan4 - "우주를 줄게"|
|54 [new]||10cm - "봄이 좋냐??"|
|66 [+13]||Busker Busker - "정류장"|
|83 [hot]||Jung Joonil - "고백"|
|97 [-35]||Cherry Filter - "낭만 고양이"|