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

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


Generally speaking, the most important ways to help SHINee are to purchase the album physically during their first day & first week of sales (Japan & Korea) and stream digitally on a Korean streaming service. First week and first day sales are highly talked about in the media (public recognition). First week sales (physical + digital, skewed heavily in favor of digital in Korea) contribute to SHINee’s ability to win weekly music shows during their promotional periods. Overall sales (physical + digital + digital streaming) contribute to SHINee’s ability to win year end awards. In Japan, physical purchases are important for RIAJ certification (Gold, Platinum, etc.). So for Japanese releases, please purchase physically when you can ^^

For the US, purchase digitally on iTunes 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 – this gets us concerts, English promotional videos/interviews, etc.~!

What this admin does:
Korean Comeback: Physical album purchase* + Korean digital streaming** + US iTunes purchase* + Apple Music/Spotify (free!)*** + MV Streaming*
Japanese Comeback: Physical album purchase* + Digital album purchase (JP iTunes)** ((No US release available))
[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 realtime sales chart that counts physical album sales numbers from Hanteo certified stores in realtime. Hanteo has realtime, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sales charts. Because of this, Hanteo is the chart that is best used if you want to generally know how an album is doing in realtime sales. Hanteo 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 (실시간 차트 = Realtime Chart, 일간 차트 = Daily Chart). However, you can only view the sales numbers for one album. To view the other 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~!

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. This has not been verified yet by k-Shawols but is based on observation of other fandoms. i-Shawols are still suggesting i-Shawols continue to stream. 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]

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. The best ways for US fans to participate in these charts are: buying a pass on Melon (iPhone required to purchase), using free Genie passes (100 free stream passes are in physical albums), & buying the album on Soribada, Genie, or Bugs. Successfully purchasing and streaming through these services will contribute to SHINee’s wins on music shows!

“Has any SHINee song or Jonghyun/Taemin solo 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)






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 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 Info
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)

*Oricon Yearly Album Ranking & Single Ranking


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

*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.

A Note About Billboard’s “Social 50” Chart – it is currently very difficult for any SM artist to land on this chart because of how SM’s social media is set up (updated March 2018). Next Big Sound (which you can create your own account on) is designed to track individual artist social media accounts. For example on YouTube, SHINee doesn’t have their own channel* – all of their videos are published through SMTown’s – which cannot be automatically separated for Next Big Sound’s data collection. SHINee finally has an individual Twitter and their recent Instagram made during “1 of 1” promotions only started being used regularly during Taemin’s “MOVE” era. We also have SHINee’s Facebook page for Next Big Sound to pull data from. Basically what limits us with the Social 50 chart is that SM hasn’t created separate YouTube accounts per artist. So we could tweet forever about SHINee but still have a hard time compared to other artists since Next Big Sound can’t pull YouTube views and channel followers from SMTown’s social media accounts.

*We do have a Japanese Vevo YouTube channel but those videos are blocked in the US.

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 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~ ^^

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