Last week saw Korean acts prove dominant on Billboard’s Social 50 chart, and this week saw another social win for K-pop. On Monday, Tumblr announced its decision to incorporate K-pop into its general Music Fandometrics chart, the latest example of a media entity recognizing not only the strength of the Korean music industry’s global fandom but also how globalized audiences are becoming.
A weekly ranking of what users on the social media site are interested in based on a variety of tag-oriented interactions, Tumblr’s April 23 music Fandometrics list revealed that K-pop stars were some of the most talked about musicians overall on the platform: 19 out of 40 acts listed are Korean, and BTS beat out Beyoncé for the top spot as the most discussed musical act on the site, even amid all the conversations surrounding Queen Bey’s domination at Beychella. EXO, Stray Kids, Seventeen, VIXX and Monsta X also ranked within the ten most popular music tags on the site, sitting alongside the likes of Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, and Taylor Swift.
On Tumblr, K-pop is a dominant fandom, and BTS regularly is the most-used and interacted-with tag on the site. Over the past few years, other social media sites including Twitter and Instagram have stood witness to K-pop’s popularity, with year-end lists and chart-tracking analysis giving the best representation of just how impactful Korean music’s following is on a global level.
The site’s move serves only as the latest nod towards recognizing how sizable, and powerful, K-pop and its individual fandoms are. (To little surprise, considering how lucrative the industry is.) It also is a nod at how mainstream acts are often less popular in Internet spaces.
“We definitely consider it its own sort of medium but after seeing BTS top Billboard’s Social 50 chart and to hold such a high place on the Artist 100, we figured that it wouldn’t make sense to keep it separated because that makes it feel niche when it’s not,” said Tumblr content insights associate Beatrice Vantapool. “Especially when you see that BTS is bigger than someone like Beyoncé. The K-pop community might know that, but to keep them separate it might make them seem like they’re not as big as they are.”
Tumblr’s shift for inclusion of acts that aren’t traditionally popular Stateside into their data rankings comes at a time when non-English music is appearing more frequently on American music charts, with the likes of “Despacito,” “Mi Gente,” and BTS’ songs making waves in 2017. The change comes as part of a broader approach to represent the site’s globalized audience, according to senior content insights manager Amanda Brennan. “Our TV list has always been pretty inclusive. Last year, at the top of the Year In Review was the Norwegian TV show Skam. And now as this phenomenon of Skam has evolved into French, German, Italian, and the American one launched this week, all of those are already categorized in our TV list. I think we’re trying to just be more conscious of everything across the platforms and this is just a part of our expansion.”
Moving forward, the site will continue to incorporate all varieties of international music into its main Fandometrics ranking. Last week saw the first Chinese act rank on the overall music chart with Idol Producer’s Nine Percent appearing. “When Fandometrics started a few years ago, we were pretty much explicitly focused on the American music scene,” said Vantapool. “But as years went on we started including [international acts] little by little.”
The K-pop-specific Fandometrics list will still remain in addition to the general chart in a show of how prominent Korean music is among Tumblr’s users.
Source : Forbes