Musicinfo adds South Korea to their distribution services and now distributes to Kakao Music, MelOn, Bugs!, Genie, Naver Music and Soribada. The listeners in Korea who subscribe to these services can pay from 3,000 to 12,000 won (3-12 USD) per month and about 500 won (50 cents) per download.
South Korea is a vibrant country with close to 52 million people and nearly half live in the capital city of Seoul. Famous for its branded style of popular music, K-pop, obviously influenced by the pop culture from abroad, welcomes all styles and genres of music.
Hosted by the Kakao Internet company, Kakao Music is a music streaming and sharing platform that is available to users of Korea’s biggest messaging app KakaoTalk boasting 47 million active monthly users.
Users can create their own music rooms to express themselves by adding photos and stories to the songs they have selected. Users can be their friends’ own personal Dj, or can visit other music rooms based on their interests and music preferences, then share and invite friends to music rooms that have been visited.
The Kakao internet group also hosts Korea’s biggest streaming music service MelOn, now with 28 million registered users. Users can stream or download songs and music videos, as well as create custom ringtones. MelOn got its fame from its notorious MelOn Charts. It displays trending music in your preferred genre in it’s Hot Track, and curates playlists and song suggestions reflecting your preferences.
Like most Korean streaming services MelOn is only available in Korea.
Genie is the second most used music streaming service in South Korea with 2.5 million subscribers as of June 2018. Catering to 20% of the country’s total streaming audience, it is the 2nd most used music streaming platform in South Korea and uses an artificial intelligence song curation service that suggests content based on the lifestyle of listeners.
As well as having a real-time song chart it has editor recommendations which recommends selected songs within themes such as: refreshing city pop, evening breeze, quiet voices whispering in your ear, heavy metal moments and more.
Created by SK Telecom with partners such as Big Hit Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and SM entertainment, FLO is a fairly new streaming services only available in South Korea. FLO refers to the service’s flow chart that reflects the streaming patterns on a 24 hour basis to provide more accurate records than its competitors who generally update their popularity charts on an hourly basis. As of November 2019, it has been South Korea’s 3rd largest streaming service, following MelOn and Genie.
Soribada was created as and remains the most widely used P2P system in Korea and is comparable to iMesh in the United States. The Soribada app is only accessible in South Korea and requires users to have a Korean phone number in order to create an account.
Customers who pay the monthly fee of 7,000 won (~7 bucks) are able to download MP3 files without Digital Rights Management (DRM). Like iTunes and other popular online music stores, Soribada utilises audio fingerprint technology to identify the purchaser. Soribada claims that it covers around 90% tracks that have been released in Korea.
VIBE is a paid music streaming service launched by the NAVER Corp. The app uses artificial intelligence to recommend songs, collect music suggestions based on a user’s personal taste, and create customized playlists. When you feel like singing along just follow the lyrics and Vibe will back you up.
Bugs! is one of the major South Korean subscription-based streaming services. Unlike most Korean streaming platforms, this service can be used by international fans as well. It prides itself on hosting lossless streaming.
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