Music Business

Why is #SPOTIFYCORRUPT trending on X / Twitter?

The hashtags #SPOTIFYCORRUPT, #HYBECORRUPT, and #GEFFENRECORDSCORRUPT are all trending on X / Twitter after apparent mistakes and changes by Spotify.

HYBE is the Korean music company behind BTS, Blackpink, and other K-pop stars, and Geffen releases their music in the U.S.

The controversy began when “Slow Dancing,” the main track of BTS member Kim Tae-hyung’s solo debut album “Layover,” suddenly fell from #1 to entirely off the chart on September 14th.

Fans of other K-pop artists also accused the streamer of other chart and data mistakes and manipulations.

Fan outrage intensified after BTS member Jungkook, who had been the most streamed K-pop soloist on Spotify globally in 2022, suddenly fell to #2 after Spotify adjusted its ranking and put Blackpink member Lisa at #1.

Spotify does not share its criteria for the ranking on many of its charts, but apparently, it did not include counts from several songs and Jungkook collabs, including one with Charlie Puth on the song “Left and Right,” which has 400+ million streams. Fan speculated that the Puth track had been left out of the calculation because Spotify did not view it as a K-pop song and/or it was a feature/collab with Charlie Puth as the primary artist for the song.

After intense fan pressure, Spotify returned Jungkook to the #1 position without giving much detail on what data we now included leading fans to accuse the streamer and HYPE of behind-the-scenes data manipulation.

The incident leaves open questions about how Spotify calculates many of its charts. As would be expected, fans were ecstatic, for now at least.

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a Berklee College Of Music professor.

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