melon logo korea

Of all the ways to listen to music streaming services, doing it with the sound turned off seems bizarre. But one reason for it would be trying to juice the stream-counts of your favourite artist to rocket them up the streaming service’s charts.

It seems this is a common phenomenon in South Korea, but perhaps not for much longer.

The country’s largest homegrown streaming service, Melon, has announced that from 1 October it will no longer count “streams with the volume set to zero” towards its charts.

That includes its daily, weekly, monthly and annual rankings as well as its Top 100 and Hot 100 according to news site Soompi.

This is part of a wider trend, with Circle Chart – the company that tracks listening across the various services to produce charts – announced a similar measure earlier this week.

The Korea JoongAng Daily’s report on that included a quote from the Korea Music Content Association claiming that “music streams done while muted take account of 7% of the weekly streams”.

South Korea generated $474.7m of streaming recorded-music revenues in 2022 according to the IFPI, so for context, 7% of that is potentially $33.2m of revenue for sound-off streams.

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