Momoland has been cleared of accusations that it bought thousands of its own records to rig the official sales chart after a government investigation found it to be not true.
The girl group’s agency MLD Entertainment announced Monday that a probe by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has cleared the act of any wrongdoing.
“We are glad that the misunderstanding is no more. We thank everyone who trusted and supported us,” MLD said. “We vow to try our best for the development of K-pop.”
The probe found that the mass sale of its record that sparked such speculation was due to local record company Mihwadang Record sending in records of their pre-orders all at once to Hanteo Chart, which tallies the sales of K-pop records.
The scandal broke out in February when it was revealed that 8,200 copies of Momoland’s third EP “Great!” were sold in a single day, on Feb.12. The group had sold 4,000 copies the month before.
Despite MLD saying that it was due to the joint purchase from the group’s fans abroad, local K-pop fans suspected that the agency had made the purchase to raise the group’s place in the local charts.
The on and offline sales chart is reflected in the ranking of local music programs, and notching the No.1 spot on them gives K-pop artists promotional opportunities.
Buoyed by robust sales, Momoland managed to notch its first No.1 spot on a music program operated by a major broadcaster: KBS’ Music Bank.
Buying or having related personnel buy copies of a certain musical record to manipulate the sales numbers of the said record is called “sajaegi” in Korean, and is punishable by law.
The scandal had caused Momoland to fall under harsh criticism from those who believed that the K-pop group had cheated.
MIhwadang issued an official apology on its homepage for causing confusion that hurt Momoland and Hanteo Chart.
Momoland will release their fourth EP “Fun to the World” on Tuesday.