G Dragon's Kwon Ji Yong USB album has divided the music industry quite literally. There is a widespread discussion happening on whether the USB can be accepted as a full-fledged album. Recently, the Korea Music Content Industry Association—that operates Gaon charts— announced that the USB cannot technically be acknowledged as an album.
According to them, any physical object that contains music will be considered as an album. But, Dragon's latest USB only contains a link to download the album. So, technically there is no music in the object and Gaon has rejected the work. The organisation has also christened such works as 'Kino album.'
However, music streaming site, Billboard, has accepted Dragon's album despite the debate. They confirmed that the album will be listed on its charts as long as its American sales (combining the physical and digital forms) are reported on Neilsen Music. "It's possible that G-Dragon will be an unfortunate victim of South Korean chart history and that similarly created USB flash drive albums or other alternative formats will eventually be counted. Times change quickly with technology and with the Internet very possibly creating an entirely new format or an alternative listening method comes into play, that forces charts teams to rethink their policies once again," an article on Billboard opined.
The controversy has opened up a whole lot of questions in the Korean music industry. Are fans really listening to music on CDs today? With the digital revolutions at its best, netizens feel that any form of music should be eligible for listing.
With Dragon's new album failing to be listed on the Gaon charts, it is likely to take a toll on his ranking SBS's Inkigayo and MBC's Show! Music Core. Earlier this week, Dragon hit back at the organisers on his Instagram page. He opined that the external packing or the attractive design shouldn't be the criteria for judging an album. The most important thing is the music that travels anywhere without any boundaries or limitations. "No matter who plays it, the voice is mine. Through your ears, your eyes, your hands, your lips. To be remembered forever in our hearts, unchanging over the course of time," he said.