Starting in 2018, Gaon Chart will count albums in USB format in its charts like Big Bang member G-Dragon's album, which was rejected when it was released in June.
Gaon Chart changed its policy following the controversy last June when it ruled that it will not tally G-Dragon's "Kwon Ji Yong" album as it didn't contain songs but only links to the sites where the tracks can be downloaded.
"We cannot consider the 'album' that the media is talking about to be the same as the 'album' as Gaon Chart has been defining it," it said.
It explained that under Korea's copyright law, "to say that an 'album' is something physical with music on it, but also includes digital matter."
"Easily explained, according to the copyright laws, an 'album' is an 'album' even if it's on a CD, a tape, an LP, or a USB. Therefore, in matters of the copyright, the 'Kwon Ji Yong USB' can be considered an 'album,'" it added.
But Gaon changed its policy to meet the growing formats and devices.
The chart said, "in order to meet with the rapidly changing new media and device environment, and to sufficiently play the role of a music chart in the new music market, Gaon Chart will be making changes in the rules."
It added that the definition of chart album will change from 'replica based on the copyright law' and 'offline album' to a 'product being sold in bulks'. Therefore, G-Dragon's USB album that led to a controversy earlier in the year and other similar products will be applied to the Gaon Chart starting next year. Various forms (USB, Kit, other storage devices, etc.) are expected to be used in album releases from now on."
Back in June, YG Entertainment defended the USB format saying it was meant "to provide more diverse contents in addition to music" but admitted that it didn't contain songs.
With the new policy, netizens pointed out that it should contain music files.
"The problem was never that it was a USB but the fact that it didn't contain digital songs but just a download link," one wrote.
Another wrote, "So can artists now release pieces of paper with a download link on them and have it be acknowledged as albums?"