Analysing and Visualising the Effects of the Melon Chart Reform on the Melon Weekly Top 10

  • On July 6th last year, Melon made a major change to how the online music service calculates its real-time chart. Previously, Melon's real-time chart was updated each hour based on how much a song was streamed/downloaded in the past hour. Since the reform occurred, the real-time chart is now calculated based on the number of a song's unique listeners in the past 24 hours (hence its new name, "24Hits").

    The question then becomes: How has Melon's chart reform affected the behaviour of the chart? From reading this forum, it seems like most people believe that the reform has made it more difficult for new songs to rise up the chart, especially to the very top of the chart. This makes intuitive sense, since the reform appears that it dilutes the effects of the mass streaming/downloading that often occurs when a new song is released. However, I wanted to see some actual evidence to back up this claim, so I decided to take a look at the data myself.

    My methodology: I visited the web site https://가이섬.com/melon/weeklycount, which collects weekly Melon chart data for the top 250 songs in a given week (thanks to atropos for the link). Unfortunately, this site doesn't allow users to export data, so I had to manually cut and paste the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, which was a real pain in the arse. I gathered data from the date range 2018-11-26 to 2021-05-10. From there, I rearranged the data into an easier to manage format, and assigned a rank of 1 to 250 for each week's songs.

    I then used the VLOOKUP function to look up each song's rank for the previous week, and thus was able to easily determine a song's change in rank, as well as whether or not it was new to the weekly top 250. Songs that were new to the weekly top 250 were assigned a value of TRUE in a "New?" column. Next, I simply used the COUNTIF function to count the number of TRUE values to determine the number of new songs in the top 10 for a given week. The results are graphed below; the vertical red dashed line marks the date of Melon's chart reform (2020-07-06).


    As we can see, it's quite clear that the number of new top 250 songs in the weekly top 10 has decreased dramatically since the chart reform. Thus, I have to conclude that it is noticeably more difficult for a new song to rise quickly (i.e. debut) to the top of the Melon weekly chart. Remember, in order for a song to be reflected in the graph above, it would have to be new to the top 250 and in the top 10. This effect is probably what Melon intended.

  • The weekly chart is a bit unfair to songs that are released in the middle of the week. I think you should extend it to new in the top 250 in the same or the previous week. For example, IU only charted 2 songs from Lilac in the first week, but 4 in the second week because she released on Wednesday.

    But still impressive nonetheless.

  • The weekly chart is a bit unfair to songs that are released in the middle of the week. I think you should extend it to new in the top 250 in the same or the previous week. For example, IU only charted 2 songs from Lilac in the first week, but 4 in the second week because she released on Wednesday.

    A keen observation. Yes, this is certainly something I thought of when putting together this analysis, and I do agree that songs released in the middle of the week are at a disadvantage when it comes to charting.

    However, I don't believe that release timing is an issue for this particular analysis. The reason is that we're only concerned with the differences in chart behaviour pre- and post-reform. For example, Lilac (which was post-reform) was indeed handicapped due to its Thursday release. However, there are surely pre-reform songs that suffered a comparable handicap.

    In effect, my assumption is that a similar proportion of songs were released in the middle of the week both before and after Melon's chart reform. In other words, these songs would basically "cancel out" each other, so we're only left with the effects of the reform itself.

  • godlike as always

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  • I've modified my initial analysis to simply count the number of new songs in Melon's weekly top 250 for the same period of time. The results are graphed below; again, the vertical red dashed line marks the date of Melon's chart reform (2020-07-06).


    The story here is quite different compared to the Top 10 graph in my original post. We can see that chart reform has had little impact on a song's ability to break into the Melon weekly Top 250. This makes sense, since the number of unique listeners for songs at the bottom of the chart are relatively low, and the differences in unique listeners between those songs are also comparatively small.

    Thus, I have to conclude that Melon chart reform disproportionately affects a song's ability to rise quickly to the top of the weekly charts, but does not significantly alter a song's chances of joining the lower ranks of the chart.

  • Intresting work.

    Overall I think the news daily list is much better than the previous live/hourly list, it gives you a much better feeling of how a song is doing and the popularity. The best impression of how a song is doing and charting is to wait maybe a week or two after the release and look at what place it have on the list it at that point. The chart position on the release date and the day after are not that importat I would say.

    But from a "marketing" point of view I can understand it maybe was easier for a less knowed artist with the old system where a release could get a bit om 15 min of fame the hour the song was released and the position on the chart could make other listen to it because of that. But I would say that effect mainly smaller groups, some established groups from the big companies would be less effected by that.

    Still, I think the 24-hours chart is better, feels a bit more fair and a correct reflexion of what songs are popular and not.

  • Tbh, Melon needs this reform. The real time chart is flooding with Trot music after 11PM weekday and and whole weekend. Although after reform, these songs are still lining up on Melon chart, while it is very hard for many artist to top real time chart after reform ( due to the visibility of customers to see only the songs in 24hits only)

  • I kinda predicted that already. That the overall variance if you expand the constant is gonna be lesser than when you focus on the top 10. In the past, we get songs on top 10 with LOW ULs but high streaming numbers. In that sense, due to the difference of variable that determines a rank and the nature of that said variable, obviously, the top 10 would be less diverse.

    However, if you expand it more, the variance will be lesser due to the fact that those low ULs-high streaming songs will have a place in that chart.

    If i care to imagine, i think the songs within top 250 will pretty much be the same songs, but some would be way higher in the list (some top 10, some not).

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