KBS‘s Music Bank is currently under fire for allegedly rigging scores to favor HYBE‘s new girl group, LE SSERAFIM.
On May 13, trot singer Lim Young Woong‘s latest track “If We Ever Meet Again” and LE SSERAFIM’s debut song “FEARLESS” competed for first place on the program.
Ultimately, LE SSERAFIM won with a margin of 846 points.
Netizens found issue with the category that led to the girl group’s win—broadcast scores. “FEARLESS” scored 5,348 points while “If We Ever Meet Again” received zero.
Considering how Lim Young Woong scored higher in both physical and digital content, many were bewildered by the results.
They argued that it was incomprehensible that LE SSERAFIM could receive over 5,000 points for “appearing in what kind of programs, how many times and when.” Unlike the other categories, broadcast scores are under KBS’s control.
In response to the complaints, KBS shared Music Bank‘s scoring system, stating that they factor in five categories, and broadcast scores account for 20% of the breakdown. They went on to explain that Lim Young Woong’s nominated song, “If We Ever Meet Again,” had not been played on any KBS platform, whether it be TV programs, radio shows, or any form of digital content.
The scoring system has five categories—digital streaming scores, which accounts for 60 percent, TV/radio broadcast scores, accounting for 20 percent, viewer preference scores, accounting for 10 percent, album sales, accounting for 5 percent, and social media scores, accounting for 5 percent.
However, fans were quick to point out that the song was broadcasted on the KBS radio show How Was Your Day With Sugarbowl.
Korean news group Dispatch carried out their own investigation following these claims. They confirmed that the song had been played two more times on May 4 and 5 on Lim Baek-cheon’s 100 Music and With Kim Hye-young respectively. If these were accounted for, said Dispatch, Lim Young Woon would have taken the #1 spot on Music Bank.
After the report was released, KBS uploaded a second statement. They claimed that Music Bank only takes into consideration songs played on seven KBS Cool FM programs.
The broadcast score category of Music Bank only accounts for radio station plays on KBS Cool FM programs. Other than the 7 main KBS Cool FM radio programs, all other KBS radio programs do not apply for the K-chart’s broadcast score category. This fact applies to all artists equally each week.
Again, netizens conducted their own investigation and struggled to find the seven programs that KBS was referring to. Two were automatically disqualified because they do not play Korean songs.
One such program that does play them had broadcasted Lim’s “If We Ever Meet Again” during the counting period of the May 13th broadcast, which was from May 2nd – May 8th.
A netizen pulled up data of songs played during the May 3 radio show and expressed confusion that KBS did not count it towards the broadcast score.
They did the same for seven more programs and received the same results.
In response to their statements, netizens criticized KBS, calling them names like “rigged-bank” and claiming they are “deceiving and manipulating viewers.”
Check out the Music Bank ending in question below.