Is USB release an album or not?

By Hong Dam-young

Culture Ministry asked to determine whether G-Dragon’s USB release is an album

  • Published : Jun 18, 2017 - 17:26
  • Updated : Jun 18, 2017 - 17:26
While G-Dragon’s latest eponymous solo EP has made headlines for its unique USB flash drive format, it has also stirred up a heated debate over whether or not it can be officially recognized as an album.

G-Dragon’s solo EP “Kwon Ji Yong” that takes form of a USB flash drive. (Yonhap)
The dispute arose after the Korean Music Content Industry Association, the operator of Korea’s Gaon Chart, recently stated that Big Bang member’s USB format EP “Kwon Ji Yong” could not be seen as a true physical album as it did not meet the requirements.

Rather than containing the actual tracks, the USB EP provides users a link to a site where they can download five tracks of the album and related photos and video.

The KMCIA said G-Dragon’s new EP will be excluded from Gaon Chart, based on Korean copyright law that defines an album as a physical object that contains music. The decision is likely to have negative impact on G-Dragon’s success on other local music charts and programs such as SBS’ “Inkigayo” and MBC’s “Show! Music Core,” all of which partially reflect data from the Gaon rankings.

The KMCIA added that it has recently requested the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to determine the issue.

In the face of growing controversy, G-Dragon took to Instagram Wednesday to address the issue with a post titled, “What’s the Problem?”

“The external format of music albums has been transforming from cassette tape to CD to download file,” he wrote. “Isn’t the most important thing for music a good melody that will linger on the ears, mouths and minds of people for a long time and the lyrics that can touch people’s hearts and minds?”

The USB drive itself has also been criticized, with numerous buyers complaining that the red color of the product smudged and wore off easily. The artist’s label YG Entertainment explained that the shedding of the red ink was its intentional effort to portray “mother’s womb,” the concept of G-Dragon’s new EP.  

By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)