Not long after hitting a record for being the first K-Pop group to top the Billboard 200 chart with a debut album, controversy on SuperM‘s win began to surface the internet.
As part of promoting their debut album, they prepared over 60 merchandise/album bundles available for fans to purchase on their official website. They also included ticket/album sale redemption offers for their arena tour and eight variations of the album itself. A week long pop-up store in L.A. was also held where fans could purchase the album as well as other goods.
‘Bundles’ is a term used to sell an artist’s goods and album together in order to raise album sales. This method is being used by many other artists in the music industry. But having over 60 different types of bundles comes as a bit of shock to buyers and fans.
A fan posted a screenshot of an email from the SM Global Shop in regards to purchasing an album. The support team revealed that the orders placed would count towards the Billboard chart regardless of the shipping address location.
This sparked controversy from Western fans as it meant that sales from other countries were counted towards the Billboard Chart.
Fans also expressed their disappointment in the continuous text messages letting them know to buy an album.
Other Western fans felt that Summer Walker deserved the number one spot for the album as they felt bundles easily manipulated the charts.
The chart below shows the numbers just before Billboard finalized the results. The chart shows that SuperM’s streaming and download numbers were about 5% less than those in first and second place. Right before the Billboard chart deadline, the group suddenly rose over 100,000 in album sales. Most people predict that this is because of the inclusion of Korean album sales.
Fans are curious to see how these types of sales will play out in the future for other K-Pop artists as it could cause repercussions and controversy in the long run.