How To Comeback Stage (AKA: Show Awards & How They Work)

KpG Note: If you’re just interested in the vote breakdown and criteria for network show stages- scroll to the bottom. If you want to read our insanity… read on.

It’s time for another post. [Yay!]

And this time we’re tackling Comeback Stages. And how they work. [Seoul’s interjection: A necessary subject, but sooooooooooooooo boring. Well, not a boring topic- just makes for really, really boring blog post content.] [Kell’s interjection: Sobering…comebacks are sobering…No I will never forget that episode of Home Improvement, I don’t care if no one else knows what I’m talking about. *Secretly admits she doesn’t know what Kell is talking about but nods and gives a thumbs up… because supportive… and someone will.*]

Basically the how do I help, where do I vote, and what do I do to help my idols win post.

[One of us is going to have to  somehow make this interesting enough that none of our readers fall asleep. onetwothree- Not It!] [Wait! What? How? Dammit… ummm… crap… here! Have some BTS maknae line!]


If you’re confused by what the requirements for comeback stages… you’re not alone. Even seasoned KPoppers can get bogged down with trying to find the how/why/where you’re supposed to help.

And if it seems like the list of How To is constantly changing… it’s because it is. Network shows are known to change their criteria with little to no notice. This of course does nothing more than fueling the rumor wars of “they did this on purpose”. [Seriously! How hard is it to put out a press release ahead of time that says on X day we’ll be changing the rules?! You know network execs are just trolling anyways. How many times have we had to live through the “because of scheduling changes, the results will not be live but will be posted later” so that the live voting component was suddenly cut out? Too many. Way too many.]


One of the other reasons these rumors tend to fly is because the Korean music industry is extremely incestuous [Can we say that? Like… I know it’s true, so it’s not slander… but can we say that?] [Well if we don’t want to use incestuous, we could say they are extremely family friendly? Or at least extremely friendly to their own family…yes I am inappropriately snickering in the corner.] In other words; the relationship chart of which company is partnered with whom runs like a bad KDrama. [Also, apparently transparency, antitrust laws, and full disclosure are merely “suggestions” in the Korean business world.] 

To the international fan it may seem odd that there is so many differences in the way each show calculates a winner. But what it really boils down to is who that show (read: network) happens to be “friends” with.

If you’re interested in how all these “Dude! That’s my buddy” versus the “Guuurl- I can’t stand him” interactions roll between music companies and their corporate parents…

we have a post for that.

But this post is about show stages.

And “how to”.

So get your pen and paper (or just a handy bookmark button). Here we go:

Performance Shows and Vote Ranking Breakdown

Quick Note: We’ve chosen to strike through recent changes so fans have the opportunity to compare old information with the newer update.


SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System)


Inkigayo – SBS (12:10 pm KST, Sunday)

⋅∴⋅ Vote Ranking Breakdown ⋅∴⋅

  • 55% -Digital Sales (MelOn, Bugs, Soribada, etc.)
  • 35% – SNS (Twitter with song hashtag, Facebook, YouTube views from creator channel only, 1theK does not count)
  • 5% – Album Sales
  • 5% – Advanced Viewer Votes (M&TV Talk App)
  • 10% -Live Votes counts 10% for top three 1st place candidates only [This calculation always frustrates me. Because that’s 110%. And technically, you can’t have 110% of anything. Because, you know, math.   Can we make a note here on that new way of live voting that sucks? Absolutely. Go right ahead. Note: It sucks.] 

As of December 2016-

  • 60% – Digital Sales (MelOn, Bugs, Soribada, etc.)
  • 35% – SNS Points (Twitter with song hashtag, Facebook, YouTube views from creator channel only- 1theK does not count)
  • %5 – Pre-voting
  • 10% – Live Votes (top 3 nominees)

[Sooooo… This may will change in the future. There are many that believe this last “update” was instituted in order to stop a certain band with a large international following from winning. This rumor was due mainly to the the policy change being instituted with no prior warning less than an hour before the show aired.] [Note that they still went with that 110% math.  I’m trying to ignore their total disregard for basic math. Happy place. Happy place. Mixtapes, free shipping, and full release of Dope: jazz version.]

⋅∴⋅ How To Vote ⋅∴⋅

Pre-show voting:

  • Download the Loen MelOn app (for Android and for iOS )
    • Tiny hack note- sometimes when setting up an account, trying to select your country makes the app crash. Change the language on your phone to Korean once your phone has been validated
  • PreShow voting from Monday 12:00pm to Saturday 11:59Pm KST
  • You can vote 3x per day.

Live Voting:

  • Send artist’s name in Hangul to +821245 (or 00821245). Please be aware of international SMS charges.

⋅∴⋅ How Else You Can Help ⋅∴⋅

  • Purchase the album from Hanteo registered sites.
  • Stream the official MV from the official artist channel. Not from 1theK. 1theK is a competitor. [insert KDrama OST for enemies staring at each other from across the table. Someone’s probably going to throw water in someone else’s face.]
I was going to find something else but then Jaejoong happened and well…here we are…  
  • Research your artist on Daum and Naver prior to broadcast.
  • Leave comments on the official artist Facebook pages prior to broadcast.
  • Tweet the band and song title in Hangul prior to broadcast. (Note: don’t use too many hashtags in one tweet or it will be counted as spam.)



The Show – SBS MTV (8:00 pm KST, Tuesday)

⋅∴⋅ Vote Ranking Breakdown ⋅∴⋅

  •  PreShow Score: 70% of final total
    • 35% of final total – Physical Album + Digital sales + SNS (Korean only)
      • 60% Digital
      • 30% Official MV views
      • 5% Expert Preference
      • 5% SNS
    • 35% of final total – Tudou MV views + pay vote (China)
      • 60% – Tudou MV views
      • 40% – Netizen preference
  • Live Vote (“The Show Choice” nominees only): 30% of final total
    • 15% – Text vote (Korea)
    • 15% – Tudou vote (China)

⋅∴⋅ How To Vote ⋅∴⋅

Pre-show :

  • SMS scores are from Thursday  12 pm to Monday 12 pm KST.

During the broadcast help:

  • During the broadcast, if your artist is a Show Choice Nominee (nominated for first place), fans can vote via SMS by texting the artists name in Hangul to +821119 for International. (Inside Korea use #1119). Please be aware of the international SMS charges.

Multiple texts from the same account will not count.

⋅∴⋅ How Else You Can Help ⋅∴⋅.

  • Stream (read: watch) the official MV from either the label channel or 1theK.
    • KpG note: There are conflicting answers on whether or not votes for The Show are counted from both channels combined or if they just use the MV with the highest views. We’ll let you know when we have a straight answer. [This is the biggest pain because 1theK doesn’t count for some of the awards so it would make sense to concentrate your streaming on the label/artist’s channel, but 1theK tends to get the lion’s share of the views.] 
  • Watch the MV on Tudou (This will contribute towards the China portion of the vote) prior to broadcast.
    • Click on the orange like button beside the artist’s name.
    • Make sure that you are allowing cookies for your view to count. Clear your browser after each view. 
  • Follow SBS MTV on Twitter and tweet SBS (@SBS_MTV)
    • Tweeting period is from 12 pm Thursday to 12 pm Monday KST prior to broadcast.
    • Tweet @SBS_MTV the song hashtag in Hangul and a short note like “I love __insert song title__” along with the hashtag  for The Show (put words in between your hashtags)
    • RT (retweets) do not count
    • Do not use any punctuation, emojis, links, or pictures in your tweet


MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation)


Music Core – MBC (3:50 pm KST, Saturday)

⋅∴⋅ Vote Ranking Breakdown ⋅∴⋅

  • 70% – Physical Album = Digital sales
  • 10% – Official MV views
  • 10% – Viewer’s ratings
  • 10% – Live broadcast text vote

As of 2015:

  • 60% – Physical Album + Digital Sales (Gaon charting)
  • 10% – MV views (both company channel and 1theK combined)
  • 15% – Viewer Committee prevoting (2000 people selected by application)
  • 15% – Live vote (1st place contenders only)

⋅∴⋅ How To Vote ⋅∴⋅

Live Voting: Send artist’s name in Hangul to +820505 or 00820505 (Korean residents: #0505). Vote only if your artist is in top 3. Please be aware of international SMS charges.

⋅∴⋅ How Else You Can Help ⋅∴⋅

  • Buy the album from Gaon participating distributors
  • Stream the MV on YouTube (either 1theK or the company channel) [See my above grumble.]


Show Champion – MBC Music (7:00 pm KST, Wednesday)

⋅∴⋅ Vote Ranking Breakdown ⋅∴⋅

  • 50% -Digital Sales (streaming + downloads), MelOn, Bugs, Naver, Soribada, Genie
  • 20% -Album sales (Hanteo, Synnara, Hottracks)
  • 15% -MelOn online voting
    • you can vote 3x per day with one account/email address
    • App = Idol Champ (Android, iOS), Loen App
    • MBC Music Broadcast Score (live views)
  • 15%- Professional Judges and select committee

As of September 2016:

  • 50% – Digital Streaming and Downloads (Naver, Daum music, Bugs, MelOn, Soribada, Genie)
  • 10% – Physical Album Sales
  • 10% – Online Voting (Netizen Popularity Points) through app (see below)
  • 15% – MBC Broadcast Score (live streaming)
  • 15% – Professional Judges & Select Committee

⋅∴⋅ How To Vote ⋅∴⋅

Pre-Show Voting Period: Monday 00:00 to Sunday 23:00 KST

  • Android users – Download and vote from the Idol Champ app
    • Log in using Kakaotalk, Google+, Facebook (Note: for some reason Facebook login can be buggy. Might prefer to use the other choices.)
  • iOS users-  use the MBC Plus website for ios (only works with mobile and only from “Korea”)
  • Vote 3x per day per account. You may use these all for the same band or divide them across several. (The yellow notification at the bottom of the screen tells you how many votes are left)

⋅∴⋅ How Else You Can Help ⋅∴⋅

  • Purchase albums from a Hanteo registered distributor
  • Stream on sites like Naver prior to broadcast
  • Live stream the show


MNet (Music Network)


M!Countdown – MNet (6:00 pm KST, Thursday)

M!Countown is one of the most international fan friendly performance shows. Prevoting is easily done online. YouTube views are counted.

⋅∴⋅ Vote Ranking Breakdown ⋅∴⋅

  • Preshow Score:
    • 50% – Digital Music Sales (MNet, MelOn, Genie, Bugs)
    • 15% – Physical Album Sales (Hanteo weekly sales)
    • 15% – SMS (YouTube Official MV Score)
    • 10% – Popularity (Online voting MNet, Mwave, Mnet Japan)  and Ratings vote
    • 10% – MNet Channel Broadcast Score (how often song is played on radio or broadcast on TV stations in Korea)
  • Live Show Score:
    • All of the Preshow Scores + Live broadcast vote
    • 10% – Live broadcast Text Vote
      • This vote is only open to artists nominated for 1st place
      • Only one vote per CJ One ID
      • International fans need to text song title in Korean hangul to +822366 or 00822366 (Inside Korea SMS to #2366) As of October 2016, live show SMS voting is no longer available to International fans. Korean residents only.
  • NOTE: DO NOT spam comments on Mnet channel or during live broadcast. Points will be deducted from the artist.

⋅∴⋅ How To Vote ⋅∴⋅

Pre voting runs 2:00pm Friday to Monday 9:00 am KST

  • Pre-show voting can be done online at the Mwave website.
  • You can vote once per day per account.
  • Login can be done with Kakao, Facebook, Twitter, or a CJOne account.
  • Note: Don’t forget to vote in the polls as well as for the show while signed in. There are usually two polls.

The Ratings Vote is taken from 1000 people who were pre-chosen (by an application process) factored into the 10% popularity vote.

⋅∴⋅ How Else You Can Help ⋅∴⋅

  • Purchase albums from a Hanteo registered distributor
  • Stream the official MV on YouTube prior to broadcast


Honorable Mention: Hit The Stage – MNet & tvN (11:00 pm KST, Wednesday)

Hit The Stage  is a cross between a reality-award-popularity-show kind of thing. Artists are chosen ahead of time to compete against each other.

Preshow voting can be done once per every 24 hours per IP at AuditionZine.

[Also note: they have one of the cruddiest captchas ever.]

Dear AuditionZine, this would be less aggravating. 


KBS (Korean Broadcasting System)


Music Bank – KBS (5:00 pm KST, Friday)

⋅∴⋅ Vote Ranking Breakdown ⋅∴⋅

  • 65% – Digital Music Chart
    • MelOn 36.9%, Bugs 20%?, all others 5-10%
  • 5% – Album Sales  (Hanteo, Synnara, Hot Tracks)
  • 10% – Viewers Choice Charts (audience vote)
  • 20% – Broadcast frequency  (number of times on KBS TV, radio shows, and song plays)

⋅∴⋅ How To Vote ⋅∴⋅

As an international fan… you can’t. There is no pre-voting or online ballot system.

Stream the show live from the official KBS YouTube channel and comment. Unlike MNet (who discourages spam and will deduct points) KBS encourages  YT comments during  broadcast, and factors these into the live viewer participation percentage.

⋅∴⋅ How Else You Can Help ⋅∴⋅

Music Bank is the hardest network performance stage for international fans to give their idols help. Prior to the stage, you will likely run across many fans begging for people to get a MelOn account and stream. Instead of complaining “why oh why don’t they make this friendlier for us international fans” consider Music Bank as more of a gauge to see how popular your band is in their own country.

With that said, things you can do are:

  • Buy albums from Hanteo approved sites. (Synnara is also calculated and counts as realtime sales, but the site is… frankly speaking, it’s a hot mess).
  • Research, watch, and listen to them on official KBS content between the official release and the performance show.

Unfortunately, that’s about it. Streaming only counts from Korean streaming sites, and most Korean sites do not count international streams except for Naver. Naver is not counted for Music Bank.

A Note About Music Bank’s Points

Music Bank uses what they call “KPoint Charting”.  This point calculation means that projected wins aren’t always reflected, and sometimes it appears that the person with the highest tally on the show comes in second place. This will absolutely lead to KPoppers screaming “give back the win” and KFans and IFans alike berating KBS for “rigged wins”.

Using the example of the fall 2016 controversy over IOI vs BTS points Music Bank explains confuses us all with:

Percentages in each field represent the percentage of total points, not reflectance percentages.” Digital music sources 65%, 130,000 points (online 117,000 points + mobile 13,000 points) + 5% of music sales, 10,000 points + 20% of broadcasts 40,000 points (TV 34,000 points + radio 6,000 points) + viewer preference survey 10% = You score your score with a total score of 200,000.

… Since there are differences in the method of counting and the reflected sound sources for each chart aggregator, I would like to say once again that the results of other companies’ forecasts are different from those of the ‘K chart’.” We will continue to make every effort to provide fast and accurate feedback to viewers’ opinions. 

[In other words, Music Bank uses what is referred to as the “KPoints Chart” system instead of normal math.] 

There have been numerous attempts by KBS to improve the vote ranking that even they recognize does not always award wins logically. But without dumping the metric altogether (read: quit playing favorites with their partners and associated stations), it’s bound to stay problematic no matter how it’s rearranged.


A Note About Streaming:

Stream on Naver or another Korean streaming site you are absolutely sure your stream counts. Naver appears to be the only one at this time*. There is a push-pull going on in the Korean music industry that claims “Korean Pride” and wants to count Korean numbers only, but they don’t want to shut off the revenue from the international market.

*Note: We here at KpG assume that the reason the “Does MelOn count international streams” argument seems to be a vicious cycle of yes/no/yes/no/maybe/no/yes/no is because they likely count streams only from Asian countries. Not European, American, Australian, or African.

Historical note: streaming from Soribiada’s English site counted until mid 2016. Soribada (Korea’s Napster), still counts on some shows, but their English site has been closed.

Why Naver Matters:

If you don’t already know, Naver is Korea’s Google. It’s their largest search engine, is currently testing self driving cars, is their map service, their social hub, their online streaming, and their home delivery service.

For now, we international kFans are blessed with seeing content on YouTube. But that may not last much longer. Starting with SBS, Naver struck a deal with each of the network channels and CJ E&M to give them 90% of the profits from streaming. This was an effort to steal the Korean market share from YouTube.

Daum grudgingly agreed to the same deal in  order not to be completely left behind.

For the time being; they still upload content to YouTube for the international market. But be prepared: as Naver becomes more adjusted in the global field (Note: Line, Snow, and V Live are all owned by Naver); and strengthens it’s expansion into Europe, this will likely change as well.

If you live in a country that you have 100% verified MelOn counts your streams:

Buy your digital downloads and stream through MelOn. Yes. It’s a pain. [MelOn is not exactly international user friendly.] But if you’re brave [or just very, very dedicated], MelOn streaming tutorials are online to help you purchase your required pass. Please note- MelOn is a subscription based site. [Confession time: I love my kpop and I will do almost anything for my faves, but I am skittish about giving my credit card info to a site that I don’t competently read the language. I will preorder the heck out of your albums. I will stream like crazy everywhere.  But if I can’t read the fine print then you’re not getting access to my bank.] [My two cents on this: I don’t like to give personal info to sites where they will keep my info on file (I’m not even crazy about sites that don’t keep it on file). All my online purchases are done using a separate credit card with a low limit. Yes it’s a pain, but not as painful as having your identity stolen. The more levels of segregation, the more work it will take for a thief/unscrupulous site to do damage.]


So obviously I’ve failed spectacularly in successfully inserting entertaining content but if you made it this far, enjoy 10 frames of the ever so lovely VIXX.









ºò½º(VIXX), È£±×¿ÍÆ® ¸¶¹ý»çµé


It’s ok. Take a breath. I know I gave you a lot to look at. Thank you for your patience and interest and have a wonderful day.

VIXX is always good for a reward. Totally worth it.



4 thoughts on “How To Comeback Stage (AKA: Show Awards & How They Work)

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