Can’t find enough Korean music you like on YouTube?
Here are the 8 most popular Korean music apps.
You can use them to find new Korean music in genres like K-pop. They’re also great for learning Korean or practicing some new dance moves!
I’ll highlight the unique features of each app too.
Let’s get started!
Just like the streaming wars in the US, the battle between music apps in Korea is heating up.
The first shots were fired among OG ones like Melon, Bugs and Genie that quickly became the most downloaded.
Now, emerging apps including Flo, Vibe and YouTube Red are fighting to gain market share. One thing’s for sure, the only real winner will be you, the consumer!
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%.
But, others say it’s because consumer patterns have shifted from ‘chart-oriented’ to ‘preference-oriented’.
Melon Chart – Despite the 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 has a real-time song chart.
Editor Recommendations – Recommends selected songs within 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 things improve.
Flo Chart – Flo also features Top 100.
But, this function is optional, so you can either love it or leave it.
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 – Lets you select artists and receive a mix tape every day.
DJ Station – Features stations by feeling.
VIBE MAG – Just like a music magazine.
It shares 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 is 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 and listen to them whenever you want.
Some of these apps won’t be available in your country. Access every Korean app with VPN here!
6. YouTube Premium (Red)
The new kid on the block, who’s been around.
In addition to Korean apps, YouTube Premium (Red) is getting popular.
※ Update: I’ve been using YouTube Premium app to download Korean songs. It’s been amazing since I can download a bunch of Kpop and other songs for flights! Their algorithm is a bit scary though, since it knows what I’ll like before I do.
Downloads – store your favorite songs on your devices for flights or road trips.
Background play – One of the most underrated features. It lets you run Youtube in the background of your device (smartphone addicts rejoice!).
Unlimited music – Listen to your heart’s content. Some of the songs aren’t officially released too.
Also, their service is ad-free.
Needs no introduction.
Spotify is planning to launch in Korea.
Although it’s not there yet, people are waiting on pins and needles.
For the more ad-tolerant, you can listen to Spotify for free. If you don’t mind hearing the same commercial every 10 minutes.
Privacy Mode – Make sure no one knows about your guilty pleasures by keeping songs secret.
8. Soribada (소리바다)
Imagine if Limewire made a comeback.
Soribada means “sound ocean” in English. It was big back in the P2P days of the 90s with MP3 players. Now it’s got a brand-new look (ditched the P2P) and is making waves again.
Best of all, you can check out their website to get a taste of their music. They have a lot of unique indie songs you might not have heard of!
※ Update: Soribada seems to be “done” as of now (April 2022). It became a ghost platform with the top 100 real-time charts showing 56 songs of trot singer Kim Ho-joong (김호중) and the rest being 90s songs! It had intense disputes over management rights with some litigation for good measure. Its business report also says there’s nothing in progress except for Christian music services. Soribada applied for financial rehabilitation this month as well. So….Soribada is great if you’re into trot or Christian music.
Soba Chart – Like the other music apps, they offer their own chart chock-full of popular songs.
Which music apps have the most Korean music?
The following apps have the most Korean music including K-pop in descending order:
What android app is good for watching Korean music videos?
YouTube Premium has a large selection of Korean music videos for you to enjoy.
exclusive info on Korea
Did we miss anything?
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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