Top 7 Korean Music Streaming Apps in 2020

5 minute read

Do you love K-pop?

Want to discover more artists in Korea?

Are you looking for the perfect Korean music app?

Like K-pop, competition in the Korean music streaming market is getting fierce.

At first, there were just conventional apps like Melon, Bugs and Genie.

Korean Music Streaming App (K-pop)

Now, emerging apps such as Flo, Vibe and YouTube Red are fighting to gain market share.

Let’s take a look at the best Korean music apps by rank.

1. Melon (멜론)

Melon used to be the powerhouse of Korean music apps.

Its market share exceeded 60% for a long time, but it rapidly decreased to about 40%.

Melon has lost the trust of some users since the controversy over ‘hoarding music (사재기 or sajaegi) to manipulate chart rankings‘.

But, some say it’s because consumer patterns have shifted from ‘chart-oriented’ to ‘preference-oriented’.

Melon’s distinct features are:

Melon Chart – Despite controversy, this feature is what made Melon.

Its Hot Track shows trending music in your preferred genre.

For U – Reflects your preferences and creates mixes updated daily, weekly and monthly.

This feature also suggests similar artists or songs.

DJ Playlist – Power DJ carefully selects and updates high quality playlists every week.

2. Genie (지니)

Genie is great.

On top of a good selection, it provides a real-time chart.

Other features are:

Editor Recommendations – Recommends selected songs with a theme.

Examples are refreshing city pop music like evening breeze, quiet voices whispering in your ear, heavy metal moments you need to hear.

Genie TV – Mainly features music videos and music-related Mnet TV shows.

Music Hug – A new service by Genie.

It allows users to listen to music while chatting with friends.

3. Flo (플로)

Flo is the future.

It curates music based on your favorite genre or artist, and provides AI-based customized service.

According to some reviews, Flo doesn’t have enough data yet for proper curating.

But, it’s still pretty new and hopefully it improves.

Flo Chart – Flo also features Top 100.

But, this function is optional, so you can either love it or leave it.

Situation –Recommends music by TPO (Time, Place and Occasion – Koreans use this abbreviation a lot).

You can select music by situation like driving, studying/reading, commuting, working out, taking a stroll/traveling, or relaxing.

Ambience – Flo features music by ambience.

You can choose the mood, such as exciting, calm, comforting, sad, sweet, or dreamy.

4. Vibe (바이브)

Vibe is all about giving back.

Its motto is 내돈내듣, which is short for 내가 낸 돈은 내가 듣는 음악에, meaning “the money I paid goes to the music I listened to”.

It distributes money back to artists according to how many times you listen to each song.

Vibe believes that this campaign can end chart manipulation and music hoarding.

Mix Tape – You can select artists and receive a mix tape every day.

DJ Station – It features stations by feeling.

Categories include popular now, hip, fun, sad, love, focused, spacing out, working out, partying and so on.

VIBE MAG – This menu is like a music magazine.

It features interviews with artists, stories about artists with recommended songs, etc.

5. Bugs (벅스)

Bugs is all about the experience.

It’s known for its pretty design and interaction with artists.

Music Post – Blog posts about music.

It even teaches English using pop songs.

Connect – Connect Story written by artists. This is where you can actually connect with artists.

It’s like a twitter where musicians can show gratitude to fans, or announce new releases.

Radio – Bugs features radio stations like podcasts. You can subscribe to them and listen.

6. YouTube Premium (Red)

The new kid on the block, who’s not that new.

In addition to Korean apps, YouTube Premium (Red) is getting popular.

You can listen to unlimited music that’s not even officially released.

Also, their service is ad-free.

7. Spotify

A familiar face overseas.

Spotify is planning to launch in Korea.

Although it’s not there yet, Koreans are paying a lot of attention to it.

For the more ad-tolerant, you can listen to Spotify for free. If you don’t mind hearing the same commercial every 10 minutes.

I hope you enjoyed this list of cool streaming apps.

Hopefully, users will be able to enjoy more options. And artists can get paid for their creations.

Feel free to share your favorite K-pop artist or music streaming app in the comments!


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