After much speculation from fans over the past few months, iChart has announced that it will soon be calculating YouTube Music, Spotify, and Apple Music streams.
Koreans first and only combined chart for online music rankings, iChart is familiar to every veteran K-Pop chart. Every thirty minutes, iChart updates song rankings across five major charts in South Korea: Melon, Genie, FLO, VIBE, and Bugs. From there, the chart then calculates the total Realtime chart score for each song as well as the Weekly total score.
It’s from these figures that All-Kills are officiated. Realtime All-Kills (RAKs) are issued when a song reaches no.1 in real-time across all five charts simultaneously. If a song is able to reach no.1 on the real-time and daily charts, it’s awarded a Certified All-Kill (CAK). Only songs that are also able to top the Weekly chart too are bestowed Perfect All-Kills (PAKs)—one of the most highly coveted accolades in K-Pop.
While racking up All-Kills has never been easy, it may be about to get harder. In a new social media update, iChart has now announced that it will also be counting streams on YouTube Music, Spotify, and Apple Music.
iChart에서 스포티파이, 애플뮤직, 유투브뮤직의 통합 순위를 확인할 수 있도록 준비하고 있습니다, 기대해 주세요! 🥰🥰
— iChart™ (@instiz_ichart) October 9, 2021
We’re putting something together so that you’ll be able to check the combined rank data from Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music on iChart. Coming soon!
— iChart on Twitter
Back in February this year, Spotify finally arrived in South Korea. Despite launching with music from several popular artists missing and now free or discounted plans for students and families, the platform quickly took off in popularity. According to the 2021 Open Survey Content Trend Report, published in August, Spotify records a Korean music streaming market share of 1% and counting.
Apple Music, meanwhile, has a 2.3% share—comparable to Bugs at 2.5. YouTube Music, meanwhile, is used by 11.3% of the market—higher than FLO at 10.6%. For comparison, 24% of music listeners in South Korea use Melon, 13.1% use Genie, and 3.5% use VIBE.
With YouTube Music, Apple Music, and Spotify covering a growing segment of the music listener base in Korea, it stands to reason that iChart now wants to include them in stream calculations. However, if they also include them in All-Kill scores, scoring a RAK, CAK, or PAK is likely to be a lot harder than before.
As of yet, iChart is yet to release any details about the new additions, including when the change will be made and whether international streams will count. Currently, you need a verified Korean ID or phone number to sign up to most Korean music streaming services, so international fans have never been able to contribute to their favorite artists’ charting potential. While iChart is yet to confirm or deny anything regarding location, it seems likely that they’ll continue to monitor Korean streams only across all platforms.
Notably, unlike in other countries around the world, there are no free plans for YouTube Music and Spotify in South Korea. However, if free subscriptions do launch at a later date, it’s also unclear how this may impact iChart.
Over on social media, fans are divided over the news. Some are disappointed that it may now be harder to achieve Perfect All-Kills, while others are pleased to see the chart become more reflective of the Korean general public’s streaming habits.