BTS faces investigation for ‘sajaegi’ alleged chart manipulation by Korea’s ministry of culture: Report - Hindustan Times

BTS faces investigation for ‘sajaegi’ alleged chart manipulation by Korea’s ministry of culture: Report

ByAditi Srivastava
May 21, 2024 12:49 PM IST

HYBE faces probe by KOCCA over allegations of BTS' chart manipulation, despite consistent denials. K-netizens express skepticism.

The legal conflict at HYBE continues to intensify as the dispute over subsidiary authority and ADOR CEO Min Hee Jin escalates. KOCCA has announced an investigation into allegations of BTS' chart manipulation, known as 'sajaegi'. On May 21, reports emerged that the Korean Creative Content Agency, under the Ministry of Culture, had confirmed receipt of an official complaint regarding the iconic K-pop band BTS and the accusations of chart manipulation.

K-Pop band BTS arrives at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in Las Vegas. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
K-Pop band BTS arrives at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in Las Vegas. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

KOCCA launches investigation into HYBE

BTS, the K-pop boy band comprising seven members Jimin, Jin, Suga, Jungkook, RM, Taehyung, and J-Hope, remains embroiled in allegations of chart-rigging practices dating back to 2017. HYBE has consistently denied these claims whenever they have surfaced. Initial complaints were lodged with the Ministry of Culture but were later transferred to the KCCA, according to K-media reports.

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The investigating team will soon be contacting HYBE to examine the accusations. However, the news didn't sit well with many K-netizens who consider these claims to be entirely false and view it as an attempt to undermine the group's success. Despite mixed reactions, recent updates suggest that the investigation has begun. A new inquiry into allegations of chart manipulation by BTS' label in 2017 is reportedly underway.

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BTS chart manipulation investigation begins

Additionally, the report states that KCCA is considering asking for help from courts or investigators if necessary. Sports Kyunghyang, further states, KCCA may also request information from music streaming services. After a review by a committee is completed, the outcome will be sent to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

An industry insider familiar with the case earlier said, "The term 'music chart manipulation' itself is misleading. Whether it's physical albums or digital music, this is clearly 'music chart manipulation.' Whether KOCCA and its subordinate agencies will conduct a proper investigation into music chart manipulation remains questionable, given their close ties with music streaming platforms."

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What is BTS sajaegi allegation?

Sajaegi, which refers to the illegal practice of music chart manipulation, is a popular term in K-pop and has claimed the careers of many K-pop groups. Despite BTS coming out clean and innocent after addressing the accusations when they first arose in 2017, the claims continue to surface, calling for an in-depth investigation. The accusations initially surfaced in 2017 following a blackmailing incident. That year, individuals threatened Bighit, claiming they would expose alleged malpractice at the agency, which supposedly occurred in albums released by the group in 2015.

"It should be noted that BigHit has consistently refuted the claims as defamatory. Previously, they stated,"Allegations of chart manipulation, marketing manipulation, concept plagiarism, connections to a cult, and other such claims that tarnish BTS's reputation are false. We have repeatedly clarified that there is no such activity,"

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