[Guide] How K-Pop/J-Pop Music Charts Work

[Guide] How K-Pop/J-Pop Music Charts Work

✦ Intro ✦

Generally speaking, the most important ways to help SHINee in their home markets are to purchase their albums physically during their first day & first week of sales (streaming & digital purchasing on Korean services are now blocked). The reason why first week and first day sales are important is because they’re highly talked about in the media which is great for public recognition. First week sales tracked by Hanteo contribute to SHINee’s ability to win weekly music shows during their promotional periods. Overall sales (physical + Korean digital + Korean digital streaming) contribute to SHINee’s ability to win Korean year end awards. In Japan & Korea, physical purchases are also important for certification (Gold, Platinum, etc.). ^^

For the US music market, purchase digitally on iTunes & Google Play Music and stream on Spotify, Apple Music, & Google Play Music. This helps SHINee chart on US Billboard and is good for international recognition! It also shows SM how many fans are here – which gets us concerts, English promotional videos & interviews, etc.~!

What this admin does:
Korean Comeback: Physical album purchase* + US iTunes purchase* + Apple Music/Spotify (free!)** + MV Streaming*
Japanese Comeback: Physical album purchase* + Digital album purchase (JP iTunes)** + Apple Music/Spotify Streaming** + MV Streaming***
[Rank of importance – Admin’s opinion: * (1), ** (2), *** (3)]

If you would like to keep track of SHINee’s sales throughout the years, this doc is regularly updated. ^^



✦ Korean Charts ✦


Physical: Hanteo & Gaon

Hanteo is a sales chart that counts physical album sales numbers from Hanteo certified stores in realtime. Hanteo also has realtime, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sales charts. Because of this, Hanteo is the chart that is used if you want to generally know how an album is doing “right now”. Hanteo is the chart that is used to determine the “physical points” given on weekly music shows (Inkigayo, Music Bank, M!Countdown, etc). You can track this chart ranking yourself over on Hanteo’s Website. To view the album sales, you have to have a paid subscription to Hanteo (requires a Korean Social Security number). Users like KAS (or even other Shawols) usually post SHINee’s sales for us which we in turn retweet on our Twitter ^^ Note: Not all stores are Hanteo-certified. Please check with your seller before purchasing. Our purchase guides always include stores that count for charting unless otherwise noted~! Please keep in mind the date the purchase guides were made and check a more recent album purchase guide of ours for updated information!

Gaon’s physical chart counts album shipments rather than realtime sales. The most common description I see of it is: “Gaon counts the number of shipments of an album from distributors minus the number returned by stores.”  Gaon is used to for the determination of both digital and physical awards given at year end award shows (Golden Disc, Seoul Music Awards, etc.). Gaon’s physical album sales can be tracked on Gaon’s Website through their Weekly, Monthly, & Yearly charts. Pre-orders are reflected on Gaon (shipments) but not Hanteo (realtime sales). Gaon is not used for weekly music shows because their weekly chart doesn’t get updated fast enough.

Sales from Hanteo and Gaon are not added together to reflect an album’s total sales. The numbers on each chart are calculated differently. Ex: If you order an album from Hottracks, it will count on Hanteo (realtime purchase) but it will also count on Gaon because it didn’t get shipped back to the distributor. Therefore your purchase counts on both charts. This is why you can’t add together these two charts to determine an artist’s total sales.

Reference: fyjjong | Other Resources: WorthYourWon




[Update: With the latest changes in Korean streaming, it’s increasingly unlikely that international streaming is being counted anymore. What is certain is that Melon seems to be in the process of blocking international IPs and now requires a Korean ID number (Korean SSN) to verify your account in the latest app update 4.3.1. The only other streaming service we can help with is maybe Genie but those are likely blocking foreign IPs now too.]

Korea has multiple digital streaming & purchasing services and each have a realtime chart of their own! Here is a list of the current Digital Services (each have their own chart): Bugs, Genie, Soribada, Olleh Music, Melon, Naver Music, Mnet music, & Monkey3.  A great site that compiles all of these in realtime is Instiz iChart (updates every hour on Twitter). But the digital chart that gets recognized for year end awards is Gaon’s Digital Chart (Weekly, Monthly, & Yearly Charts). Gaon also breaks down their combined Digital Chart into Streaming & Download Charts. A prestigious thing for an artist is for a new album/ new song to debut with an “All Kill” – when an artist’s new song/album reaches #1 on ALL Korean digital charts during the first hour/day of release.

“Has any SHINee song or solo release had an all kill?

This is kind of a tough one. There have been three times when it technically happened but also … didn’t happen. Twice as SHINee and once with Jonghyun. The first time was with “Sherlock” in 2012, the second time was with “Dream Girl” in 2013, and the third time was [2015] with “Déjà-Boo”. To explain this, before the summer of [2015] there were actually ten digital charts: Bugs, Cyworld, Daum, Genie, Melon, Mnet, Monkey3, Naver, Olleh and Soribada. Back in 2011, Cyworld decided to change some of their policies which SM didn’t agree with which led to a dispute of sorts and SM decided to pull their songs from being able to be charted or purchased via Cyworld. So, obviously, this meant that SM artists were only eligible to chart on nine of the ten charts. This also meant that they’d never be eligible for a “legitimate” all kill which halted a lot of SM artists from being able to actually “call” an all kill, whether it be a realtime, certified or perfect. It blocked SHINee, it blocked SNSD, it blocked EXO, etc. Fast forward to last summer: Cyworld, Daum and Monkey3 had always been viewed as the “weakest” links of the ten digital charts. Monkey3 held on, but it was confirmed that Cyworld would retire their digital chart on June 1st and that Daum would follow by retiring theirs on June 30th. So, ever since then we’ve been down to eight digital charts and multiple SM artists have been able to achieve all kills. EXO was the first SM artist to achieve one after the retirement of both charts with the release of “Love Me Right”, followed by SNSD’s “Party”, Taeyeon’s “I”, TTS’s “Dear Santa”, Baekhyun’s “Beautiful” and Taeyeon’s “Rain”. Collaborations involving SM artists have also gotten all kills since then, such as: Baekhyun + Suzy’s “Dream”, Crush + Taeyeon’s “Don’t Forget”, and Chen + Punch’s “Everytime”.  Long story short: If SM and Cyworld hadn’t had their problems, as of now, SHINee would have two past all kills and Jonghyun would have one. So, Jonghyun’s song for Lee Hi is the first time that SHINee has been “officially” linked to a certified all kill. All of SM’s artists suffered in the past due to the issues with Cyworld but SHINee were especially unlucky last year because, if the charts had retired at the very start of the year rather than midway through, they probably could’ve gotten an actual all kill last year. But it’s a new year and it’s gonna be a goal to try and get one for their next comeback!”

(Source: fyjjong)


Korean Year End Awards

✦ 2008 – Rookie Grand Slam: , Mnet Asian Music Awards “Best New Male Group”, Korean Entertainment Arts Awards “Best Newcomer”, Golden Disk Awards “Newcomer Album of the Year”.

✦ 2009Golden Disk Awards “Popularity Award”, Seoul Music Awards “Best Newcomer”

✦ 2010Golden Disk Awards “Popularity Award” & “Disk Bonsang“, Seoul Music AwardsBonsang Award“, Korea Entertainment Awards “Best Male Group”, Melon Music Awards “Netizens Popularity Battle Awards”,

✦ 2011Seoul Music Awards “Popularity Award” & “Bonsang Award“,

✦ 2012 – Korean Culture Entertainment Awards “Best Male Vocalist” (SHINee), Mnet Asian Music Awards “Best Dance Performance – Male Group”

✦ 2013Golden Disk Awards “Popularity Award” & “Disk Bonsang“, Seoul Music Awards “Popularity Award” & “Bonsang Award“, Melon Music AwardsBonsang” & “Artist of the Year (Daesang)“, Mnet Asian Music Awards “Best Dance Performance – Male Group”

✦ 2014Golden Disk Awards “Popularity Award”, “Disk Bonsang“, & “Ceci Asia Icon Icon Award”, Seoul Music Awards “Popularity Award”, “Bonsang Award“, & “Special Hallyu Award”,

✦ 2015Golden Disk Awards “Popularity Award” (TAEMIN), “Popularity Award” (ToHeart [KEY]), & “Disk Bonsang” (TAEMIN), Seoul Music Awards “Popularity Award” (TAEMIN), Melon Music AwardsBonsang“, Mnet Asian Music Awards “Best Dance Performance – Male Group”,

✦ 2016Golden Disk Awards “Popularity Award” & “Disk Bonsang” (SHINee), “Disk Bonsang” (JONGHYUN), Seoul Music AwardsBonsang Award“, Mnet Asian Music Awards “Best Dance Performance – Solo” (TAEMIN),

✦ 2017Golden Disk Awards “Popularity Award” & “Disk Bonsang” (SHINee) & “Disk Bonsang” (TAEMIN), Seoul Music Awards “Popularity Award”, Gaon Chart Music Awards “Hallyu World Star”, Mnet Asian Music Awards “Best Dance Performance – Solo” (TAEMIN)

✦ 2018Seoul Music Awards “Popularity Award” (TAEMIN)

✦ 2019Golden Disk AwardsDisk Bonsang” (JONGHYUN) & “Special Disk Bonsang Fans Choice” (JONGHYUN) , Seoul Music Awards “Popularity Award” (SHINee)






✦ Japanese Charts ✦


Physical: Oricon

What is Oricon? Oricon is a music chart based on physical album sales. It gets published daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly with weekly charts published every Tuesday. You can view the chart here on Oricon’s Website.

Why is Oricon important? It’s important to do well on Oricon because of the additional media exposure which produces more sales during and immediately after the first week of release. If SHINee gets #1 on Oricon, they’ll be all over the daily/weekly music news. So if you have the opportunity, please do purchase/pre-order so sales can count during the first week of release on Oricon’s chart~

How can I get my purchase to count on Oricon? Oricon policy only allows for sales to count if online orders are shipped to a Japanese address. So while YesAsia & CDJapan do support Oricon, they only support Oricon if you live in Japan and are ordering from YesAsia/CDJapan. For your purchase to count on Oricon, you must 1) Get in on a participating Group Order that has someone living in Japan to act as the middle man for your album purchases or 2) Purchase your album via proxy/forwarding service with a place like Tenso (knowledge of Japanese/Google Translate is likely required on most sites to navigate and make purchases, also forwarding services use EMS which can be costly – hence group orders).

A list of current Oricon participating stores can be found on Oricon’s website (Google translate works well enough for this). For more reading on this you can consult an older guide by SHINeeBloom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – While this guide is old (2011) and many more stores have been added since then (see the list linked before), the basic principles are still the same. In addition to that, according to J-Shawols we’ve spoken with Fanclub editions do not count on Oricon. I don’t have sources for this so take it with a grain of salt but I personally consider it to be trustworthy. Also, the FC Ed. is purchased via Shopbo/ShoppingBoard (with SWJ login) which is not listed on Oricon’s website as an official seller.


✦ Oricon Rankings ✦

Replay – Kimi wa boku no Everything‘ #2 Weekly Singles Chart (6/22/2011) – (#66 Single of 2011) – 114,314 copies sold
Juliette‘ #1 Daily Singles Chart (#3 Weekly) (8/29/2011) (#107 Single of 2011)
Lucifer‘ #2 Weekly Singles Chart (10/12/2011) (#118 Single of 2011)
THE FIRST‘ #3 Daily Album Chart (#4 Weekly) (12/7/2011) (#92 Album of 2011)
SHINee the 1st Concert – SHINee World in Tokyo‘ #2 on Oricon DVD Chart (1/19/12) – “first foreign artist to rank 2nd on Japan’s Oricon DVD chart”
Sherlock‘ #2 Weekly Singles Chart (5/16/2012) (#120 Single of 2012)
Dazzling Girl‘ #2 Weekly Singles Chart (10/03/2012) (#71 Single of 2012)
1000nen, Zutto Soba ni Ite…‘ #2 Daily Singles Chart (#3 Weekly) (12/12/2012) (#147 Single of 2013)
Fire‘ #3 Daily Singles Chart (#5 Weekly) (3/13/2013) (#127 Single of 2013)
Boys Meet U‘ #2 Weekly Album Chart (6/26/2013) (#92 Album of 2013)
Boys Meet U‘ #2 Weekly Singles Chart (8/21/13) (#55 Single of 2013) – 124,232 copies sold
3 2 1‘ #2 Daily Singles Chart (#3 Weekly) (12/6/13) (#107 Single of 2013)
Lucky Star‘ #2 Daily Singles Chart (#3 Weekly) (6/25/2014) (#161 Single of 2014)
I’m Your Boy#1 Weekly Album Chart (#1 – 4 days straight) (9/22/2014) – 1st time #1 on Weekly Chart (#87 Album of 2014)
‘Your Number’ #1 Daily Singles Chart (Weekly #2) (3/15/2015) – (#53 Single of 2015) – 134,391 copies sold (highest sales)
Sing Your Song‘ #1 Daily Singles Chart (Weekly #5) (10/27/2015)
DxDxD#1  Weekly Album Chart (Daily Chart Info) (12/28/2015) – 2nd time #1 on Weekly Chart (#72 Album of 2016)
Kimi no Sei de‘ #2 Weekly Singles Chart (5/24/2016) (#77 Single of 2016)
Sayonara Hitori‘ #3 Weekly Album Chart (7/28/2016) (#88 Album of 2016)
Winter Wonderland‘ #1 Daily Singles Chart (#2 Weekly) (12/25/2016)
Five‘ #2 Daily Album Chart (#3 Weekly) (2/22/2017)
Flame of Love‘ #1 Daily Album Chart (7/17/2017)
‘SHINee The Best From Now On’ #1 Weekly Album Chart (4/30/2018) (#43 Album of 2018)
‘Sunny Side’ #4 Weekly Single Chart (8/13/2018) (#82 Single of 2018)
‘TAEMIN’ #1 Daily Album Chart (#2 Weekly) (11/27/2018(#70 Album of 2018)
‘Hologram’ #1 Daily Album Chart (#4 Weekly) (12/15/2018)

*Oricon Yearly Album Ranking & Single Ranking


✦ Additional Awards ✦

Japan Golden Disk Awards: 2018 – “Best 3 Albums (Asia)”


Certification: RIAJ [Recording Industry Association of Japan]

What is RIAJ certification?  RIAJ certification is the only indication of an album’s sales numbers in Japan. Unlike Korea’s Gaon and Hanteo charts, you don’t know an album’s sales figures until the album becomes certified by RIAJ. It is our understanding that these “sales” are counted like Gaon where they count the distributor’s figures instead of point of sale (in store purchase). This means that it doesn’t matter where you purchase the album from (international store vs. Japan) – it’ll count no matter what because it didn’t come back to the distributor after shipment.

Certifications: Gold = 100,000 sales, Platinum 250,000, Double Platinum 500,000, Triple Platinum 750,000, Million 1,000,000, etc.


✦ SHINee’s Certified GOLD Albums & Singles* ✦

Replay – Kimi wa boku no Everything‘ – June, 2011
THE FIRST‘ – Dec., 2011
Dazzling Girl‘ – Oct., 2012
Boys Meet U‘ (album) – July, 2013
Boys Meet U‘ (single) – Aug., 2013
Your Number‘ – March, 2015
Winter Wonderland‘ – Jan., 2017
‘From Now On’ – May, 2018
‘Sunny Side’ – Sept., 2018

*Gold Certification = 100,000 Physical copies “sold” (shipped from distributor) – The same method is used by RIAJ to determine the yearly “Japan Gold Disk Award“.


Digital & Physical: Billboard Japan

When you purchase your Japanese albums through iTunes Japan, those sales are combined with the physical sales to contribute to Billboard Japan’s charts~! ^^ Still exploring the details of Billboard Japan, but you can see SHINee’s artist page here and their album/singles “Insights” here (“3 2 1″~current). Billboard Japan’s Charts: Hot 100 (“Winter Wonderland” ranked #3) – Complete Comprehensive, same as Hot Albums Chart + Radio Airplay & SNS (Youtube, Twitter, etc.)… Hot Albums Chart (“Five” ranked #3) – Comprehensive, based on the nationwide estimated sales figures from 27,000 stores, convenience stores, and e-commerce via Soundscan Japan, iTunes, Google Play, Mora, mu – mo, Recochoku, Gracenote…..  Top Albums Sales (“Five” ranked #3) – Collects figures from 27,000 stores, convenience stores & e-commerce…. Top Singles Sales (“Winter Wonderland” ranked #2) – Same sources as Top Albums Sales. …… So iTunes JP purchases help with Billboard’s Hot 100 & Hot Albums Chart…. Physical purchases help with ALL charts. At the end of the year, this data is compiled to form the Billboard Japan Music Awards (2016’s Winners). ^^



The other main Japanese music award is the Japan Record Awards awarded by the Japan Composer’s Association. This award is given by committee votes and not based on sales.




✦ USA Charts ✦


Digital: Billboard

Billboard tracks album sales, digital sales, streaming, and radio airplay. These figures are tracked by Billboard, Nielsen, and Next Big Sound. “Generally, charts reflect sales and airplay between Monday and Sunday of any given week. Charts are refreshed every Thursday on billboard.com and billboard.biz and reflect the date of the Billboard issue in which they appear.” Ex: Jonghyun’s “Story Op. 2” was released on the 24th, appeared on the following week’s World Albums Chart, but that chart was dated the week after that. To find out more detailed information about the Billboard’s charts, you can review their Chart Legend. The easiest way for us to contribute to Billboard’s charts is to buy SHINee albums on iTunes and stream via Spotify & Apple Music.

Billboard’s “Social 50” Chart – Tweet a lot using the “#SHINee” hashtag and tag the official @shinee account, reply to them, etc. in order to count on Billboard’s Social 50! The more often you engage with #SHINee & the official account, the better SHINee will trend on Social 50. Next Big Sound tracks “engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Wikipedia and Tumblr. The chart’s methodology blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers with artist page views and engagement.” So be sure to follow SHINee’s official accounts and engage with them by liking, sharing/retweeting, & commenting~! ^^

A Note About Spotify, YouTube, & illegal uploads – If you are going to stream a song that doesn’t have a MV (you should always stream the official MVs! ^^) and it’s released 2012 or later, please just stream for free on Spotify – especially if you’re on a computer. It’s just as convenient as YouTube, it’s free, AND it’s legal! Which is important because 1) the money goes to the artist but also 2) like I said before about US sales reflecting to SM our interest in SHINee – Spotify tracks the country songs are being streamed in and those numbers go straight to SM. If you stream illegal videos on YouTube, SM doesn’t see those numbers nor do they get money out of it – It’s a dead end for creating buzz and interest in SHINee. So please support our artists legally~ ^^

Read more about SHINee’s Billboard Chart Position History HERE!




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