K-pop scandals

BTS, Blackpink fans fight for bands to top charts

Fans of Blackpink (left) have been accused of paying streaming service Spotify to ensure an advertisement featuring the girl group is played before a BTS track can be listened to.
Fans of Blackpink (left) have been accused of paying streaming service Spotify to ensure an advertisement featuring the girl group is played before a BTS track can be listened to. PHOTO: BLACKPINK

SEOUL • The new albums from BTS and Blackpink are counted on by the industry to lift K-pop from its scandals.

But another controversy has blown up over tactics used by fans of the two groups in the battle to conquer the album charts.

There is talk that Blackpink fans paid streaming service Spotify to ensure that an advertisement featuring the girl group is played before a BTS track can be listened to.

According to portal allkpop, the accusers say this tactic artificially raises the streaming numbers of Blackpink's latest song, Kill This Love, that is in the advertisement.

"OMG, you go to listen to BTS and you're forced to listen to Blackpink?" a netizen wrote in protest.

But Spotify has clarified that the ad does not count towards tabulating the streaming tally for Kill This Love.

The BTS fan who first posted about the alleged Spotify manoeuvre has apologised over the ruckus caused.

"I had posted an unconfirmed story about Spotify... and more people than I had imagined ended up misunderstanding the situation.

 
 
 

"I knew it was not true, but I just left a short message and did not cope with the troubles.

"Because of my act, the innocent members of Blackpink were extremely criticised. I am sorry."

While that matter has been resolved to some extent, another issue is still up in the air.

Starbucks is investigating a claim that it has a promotion campaign with Blackpink.

The coffee chain was said to be offering a free drink voucher to anyone posting a screenshot of himself or herself listening to Kill This Love, accompanied with the hashtag #KillThisLoveStarbucks.

It is not known for now if the promotion claim comes from an over-zealous Blackpink fan, or a BTS fan who wants to create trouble for the "enemy" camp.

Notwithstanding the efforts by the rival supporters to upstage one another, experts predict that albums by both bands - Kill This Love from Blackpink and Map Of The Soul: Persona from BTS - will reign supreme on the charts.

These releases are touted to provide a booster shot for the K-pop industry that has seen male artists, such as Seungri, Jung Joon-young and Roy Kim, booked for offences from the taping of women in sex acts to the distribution of obscene photographs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2019, with the headline 'BTS, Blackpink fans fight for bands to top charts'. Print Edition | Subscribe