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[DISC] How T-ara are getting the love back: A look at sales numbers

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Hey, Diadems, yo!

I'm sure you all are jamming to T-ara's latest release 'Do You Know Me' Monday to Sunday nowadays. Because, what should I do, it's just too catchy!

It's only a couple of months since T-ara came back with their signature upbeat ballad sad love song 'No. 9'. And it is only a little over one year since the scandal that made T-ara break down in tears.

Now that their tears have turned into pearls, has the heat turned into love for the girls as well?

By looking at things at a glance, T-ara seem to have been 'accepted' back to the place where they belong, entertainment industry. However, looking at certain facts a little deeper might give us a hint at how well T-ara are doing in regaining their position in the industry at the moment.

And sales figures are what would be helpful in this exercise.

I have compiled the Digital Aggregates (DAs) points (aggregates from Digital Song Downloads, Mobile/Ringtone Downloads, Video Streamings, and Background Music Downloads) for each title track for the first 4 weeks (F4W) since each release, and also the album sales numbers since release to October 2013. All data is derived from Gaon chart.

*I wasn't able to obtain the weekly DAs for Sexy Love. Gaon archive doesn't wanna go back that far and I lost the weekly data I had back then.

*I only compiled the data for releases after (and including) Day By Day because that was pretty much the period where the scandal first broke out, and that's what's going to matter in the remaining time of T-ara's career.

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Day By Day - At US$413,061 worth of title track sales for the F4W since its release, T-ara were still the Top Tier group back then, among boy groups and especially girl groups. Album sales (since release thru Oct 2013) are not amazing, knowing T-ara's power to sell past 50,000 units. I'm not sure how much the scandal contributed to the low sales.

Sexy Love - Either the public didn't like Sexy Love that much (which I don't think was the case because Sexy Love follows T-ara's previously catchy songs formula) or the scandal hurt the sales badly enough. Revenues from the song's F4W sales were down by almost 40% compared to those of Day By Day. Worth mentioning is the fact that Mirage still sold 832 units in 2013, while Day By Day saw no sales at all! I was thinking of a 'sold out album' scenario, but after checking on Yesasia I found out it was Mirage that was no longer available.

Jeon Weon Diary - Just when people thought T-ara would be laying low, CCM released sub-unit N4 with their not-so-haters-friendly-song. As expected but quite surprisingly, at least to me, was that fact that they managed to sell the title song for roughly 60% of Sexy Love's sales figure in the F4W period. JWD album sales are very poor for T-ara's standard, but lo and behold, it's among the highest selling album in 2013! It even beats (newly) digital monster like SISTAR and SISTAR19, also 4Minute. It's also only ~9,000 units less than IU's Modern Time album sales that charted most of its songs.

If anything, I would expect Jeon Weon Diary (both song and album) to flop due to the harsh nature of the song to some listeners. But no, I guess the public were more excited about T-ara N4 punching haters in the face then they were about T-ara's normal comeback.

No. 9 - Thus, this very typical T-ara sounding song didn't do so well during its F4W. As if it's the trend with T-ara's title songs after the scandal, No. 9 sales were down 40% (again) from their latest Jeon Weon Diary sales, although the album manages to sell 24,882 units thus far, catching up with JWD album sales.

I Know The Feeling - Despite the low digital sales of this song, it's a nice feat to see the second title tract made the chart.

Some of you might ask, "Why looking at the sales numbers for the first 4 weeks?"

According to some Kpop music and sales aficionado out there, the F4W time frame is the period where a song normally shows its attention grabbing power, turning listeners into buyers. An explosive F4W record would suggest the song will become a chart topper, although it's no guarantee that the song will remain on the chart for a long period of time. Case in point is Roly Poly whose F4W sales weren't too spectacular but it had the longevity power to keep charting until the year end.

Also, some would use F4W sales numbers as an indication of how well received the song is by the vast audience beyond the group's exclusive fans.

The graph below shows how T-ara's title songs digital sales and albums sales fluctuate since scandal.

The steep drop is very obvious in the period between the release of Day By Day and Mirage. T-ara's recent Again album manages to bring more (estimated) revenues because it's priced higher than JWD album, although selling ~4,000 units less.

*I used Yesasia List Price for the album price.

The trend for T-ara's title tracks F4W sales numbers is nothing fun to look at. Nuff said.

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Still from the graph above, albums sales seem to bring more revenues compared to title track digital sales. And if what Kpop fans out there say is any true that those who purchase albums are loyal fans who really follow the group, it's sad yet still good to see how many (or little) 'loyal fans' remain to support T-ara.

As normally the case with repackage albums that sell less than the original releases, I'm doubtful Again 1977 would surpass 20,000 mark. But I'm truly wishing I'll be proven wrong.

d6C557y.jpg

Although it's not an amazing number for T-ara's class, it's still great to see how Again album outsells earlier releases of notable groups as pictured in the table above.

Here is how T-ara's title tracks rank annually based on Gaon sales data.

q67izsA.jpg

Well, let's hope things turn out for the better for our beloved T-ara. As much as we want them around for as long as possible, or however much they want to keep entertaining us, it's all about the money money money that CCM care about.

The more we support them, the more revenues they make, and that means a happy KKS, and that means he'll most likely keep T-ara around a bit longer, and that means happy fans.

So, Diadems, keep supporting T-ara... day by day, again... and again 1977... alright, this pun is getting out of place.

:D

*Please let me know if I missed any point.

Data Sources: Gaon, Yesasia

EDIT 1

Summary and Notes:

1. Digital sales. Ever since Day By Day, the trend for title tracks' Digital Aggregates (online sales) seems to be that every new release would have a 40% lower sales than the previous release.

2. Album sales. Ever since Day By Day, the units sold have have seen a declining trend as well. However, due to the nature of much higher sale prices for the albums, the estimated revenues saw relatively stable figures every release although all releases after Day By Day only sold roughly 50% as much. Note: Again sales numbers are only a couple of months old, we might see little additions in the future.

3. Gaon's pricing and calculation systems for Digital Aggregates have always been changing. And most recently the rumor is that Gaon changed their systems again in January 2013 (thanks to Z for pointing that out). I still used the previously known value of $0.003/Digital Aggregate point. With this in mind, digital sales revenues that are converted from DAs are only to serve as a rough estimate. However, the DAs themselves could still serve as a good measure of the vast audience acceptance of a particular song.

EDIT 2

Gaon Digital Aggregates Points / Song Download Counts for F4W Period

Do You Know Me

1. 5,693,093 / 80,602

2. 3,592.931 / 45,435

3. 1,998,990 / 24,283

4.

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Not sure about all of you but it feels like the girls are coming back to the Korean music scene. No. 9 pretty much garnered back support for our girls but of course they're not back to the shape they were once in. Hopefully after a long period of time, the superficiality of people start to wear off and 1977 would really help them get back at least to the top tiers. Their hard work deserves to be paid off, no matter what happened before, not to mention the quality of music and live performances that they had delivered despite the busy schedules and minimal rest that they received.

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Not sure about all of you but it feels like the girls are coming back to the Korean music scene. No. 9 pretty much garnered back support for our girls but of course they're not back to the shape they were once in. Hopefully after a long period of time, the superficiality of people start to wear off and 1977 would really help them get back at least to the top tiers. Their hard work deserves to be paid off, no matter what happened before, not to mention the quality of music and live performances that they had delivered despite the busy schedules and minimal rest that they received.

True true about the quality of music. It's too sad if the music is overshadowed by superficial sentiments.

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Really great research! For my piece of mind I like to compare T-ara now against other girl bands instead of T-ara during its peak days. That album sales figure really gives me hope that they are still outselling most scandal-free girl bands. A scandalized T-ara does better than a squeaky clean Rainbow anyday in my book (sorry for Rainbow fans)

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Thanks for putting this together...really interesting.

I think more than anything this shows how scary today's world of social media and instantaneous and perhaps less than thorough reporting is. Ultimately, somebody started a somewhat plausible rumor and ended up costing T-ara significant amounts of money and hard work. Basically a textbook example of an internet viral rumor...and unfortunately of a variety that can't be disproven unlike the so-and-so is dead or pregnant, that you see now and then.

Hopefully T-ara's continuous hard work will be rewarded by more future success.

T-ara Fighting!

Queen's Fighting!

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Does any of this really help anything? Those stats are a year and a half old because they only measure up to Sexy Love.

Since then the girls had two successful promotions in Japan, 2 subunit singles which performed very respectably and now two new Korean releases which are also doing very well.

You gotta let the past go at some point because holding onto it is unhealthy.

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Nice chart! I say you've done a pretty good job at this. :lol:

History shows many musician fall from their grace (Just look at britney spears) only to bounce back and shines even greater than before. T-ara just need to make more great music since good products sells itself, like JWD that song is so good even the haters secretly buys them in guilty pleasure.

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Hey there, I'm not sure if I fully understood your comment.

Does any of this really help anything? Those stats are a year and a half old because they only measure up to Sexy Love.

What helps what? Does my post help anything? If you asked will my post help T-ara? The asnwer is 'No'. I posted it purely for the purpose of information.

Which stats are a year and a half old? If you meant Gaon's numbers, yes apparently the oldest stats available right now is the last week of Dec 2012.

Since then the girls had two successful promotions in Japan, 2 subunit singles which performed very respectably and now two new Korean releases which are also doing very well.

My apologies for not clarifying what I'm talking about in my post. It's all about Korean activities. I didn't touch Japanese numbers because I never followed that venue closely enough to say anything. I can't read Kanji, so researching on Oricon website would be a headache, while Gaon provides English option.

You gotta let the past go at some point because holding onto it is unhealthy.

I'm not sure which past you were referring here. I did not dwell upon the scandal itself. But if by 'past' you meant the sales numbers, then every statistics is the past. Again, my post is only aiming to lay out the data available out there in an easier-to-see-and-understand way.

I have definitely let go of the 'past' (scandal) as I'm too happy with T-ara's return as a 6-member group ^_^

T-ara just need to make more great music since good products sells itself, like JWD that song is so good even the haters secretly buys them in guilty pleasure.

That's what I thought, too LOL. N4 really punched haters in the face, twice.

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Great work on this compilation.

It should be noted for clarification sake that since Jan this year, there was a change in prices and Gaon's system thus the overall decrease in all Digital Aggregates. The $0.003 value I believe you used is no longer the exact number and sadly no one knows the current figure.

I think it'd serve as better data if a separate chart was made for songs post-Jan 2013 as comparing them with pre-Jan 2013 would be inaccurate.

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Interesting and good at the same time that someone has actually bothered to do a piece on T-ara's sales figure. It feels like I'm in a business meeting of some sort.

But what I think is relevant is that this is exactly the information that business executives, decision makers and investors are really interested in. These are the realities of not only the music industry but of the outside world as well. For something to get the go ahead it has to be commercially viable. In the case of T-ara, definitely sales figures will be important to decision makers as to the future of T-ara.

Think about it, will anyone one of us be willing to invest in something that is losing or not bringing in the money? It's the same in the music industry. The company will not be willing to pour more money into T-ara if they find that T-ara's sales figure's are just not meeting financial targets? How can they? Composers, MVs production and staff all need to be paid. So, while we always hope for a good song and MV from the girls, it all depends on the company's budget and sales expectations of the albums and songs. So let's not be too critical in labelling some of these agencies as greedy. Basically, they need to get a return on their investments.

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Thanks aoi! I'll read through the post later on.

Personally, I'm more interested in this (statistics, numbers, etc), than say rankings and awards. I know even this can be manipulated in some way, but for me it is a good indicator of how a singer/group's relative health is in the industry. I mean barring any other factors (e.g. wants a career change), then sales would be the 'do well, stay; do bad; goodbye'.

Quite simplistic but then again, entertainment industry is a business, so profits would be an indicator for the power-that-be to continue investing.

If I understand correctly, Roly Poly was more like a a sleeper hit, average start (F4W) but continued with continued sales in the following months. I'd always thought (hoped) if T-ara would lack that explosive start to propel their sales as before, but at least be able to achieve gains in the long term.

In any event, I hope T-ara's songs re-open opportunities for them.

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Great work on this compilation.

It should be noted for clarification sake that since Jan this year, there was a change in prices and Gaon's system thus the overall decrease in all Digital Aggregates. The $0.003 value I believe you used is no longer the exact number and sadly no one knows the current figure.

I think it'd serve as better data if a separate chart was made for songs post-Jan 2013 as comparing them with pre-Jan 2013 would be inaccurate.

Z you are so right about Gaon's changes in their prices and calculation systems. They are infamous for this among music sales fans.

But since no one knows the new figure, and very likely it's a lower amount, for the sake of a light discussion I used the $0.003. If we're to use the new lower amount then it will look much gloomier on the chart.

Also, many music sales discussions out there don't seem to be too concerned about it (yet) since probably we can use the DAs points for the subject of comparison instead of the revenue conversion.

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Thanks for compiling those sales figures and drawing up charts and tables. It's like reading a sales analysis, which it's actually is. Physical album sales figures depends on the size of the group's fandom. The only issue here is that international fans from all over the world can help boost the physical album sales, but not the digital sales, which I understand can only be contributed by Koreans. A fan would buy a physical album for collection or as a keepsake, but the general public / non-fans would opt for the digital version instead. Therefore, digital sales figures are supposed to be a more accurate measure of a group's popularity / relevance. I say "supposed" because there was suspicion that the digital sales figures of some groups were manipulated.

Worth mentioning is the fact that Mirage still sold 832 units in 2013, while Day By Day saw no sales at all! I was thinking of a 'sold out album' scenario, but after checking on Yesasia I found out it was Mirage that was no longer available.

Mirage is a repackage of DBD with the addition of just two new songs, Sexy Love & Day and Night. Hence, it's understandable if people choose to buy it instead of DBD.

T-ara's sales figures might look better than other girl groups. T-ara doesn't have many sources of income other than the income from the album sales (physical and digital), which don't bring in much profit anyway, and touring, which isn't a good source of income either, since Kpop girl groups only have a niche market overseas, and expense for venue hire, travelling and the staff overseas already eat up a large chunk of the profit cake.

I believe T-ara is still making profits for CCM. Things seem to be in such a mess nowadays for CCM that I think CCM still wants to continue promoting T-ara, since they seems to be their only successful idol group.

T-ara would only come to an end if they're no longer of any use to CCM, or when the girls don't want to renew their contracts anymore.

I don't keep my hope up too high. I'm just selfishly happy that they're still around and making new music. Saying I'm selfish because maybe they no longer want to stay as T-ara post-scandal and maybe they're just waiting for the contract to end to free them from the showbiz.

Sales figures are important for a group's career and I love discussing about them. But I won't stress myself over them too much. Because at the end of the day, there're certain things I can't help my idol group, they have to do it themselves.

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thanks for this compilation. it is interesting to see all this data compiled together finally and in an easy-to-follow format. :)

although it is disappointing, it is not horrible. its inevitable they aren't as well off now as they were before, but they still are doing quite well by their album sales. honestly i think the biggest disappointment is number nine. i thought that it would be a big hit for t-ara and i believe its one of their best songs but it didn't turn out that way we hoped it would :(

it's good to see them selling more albums than the other girl groups of course XD

im nervous to see how what do i do charts because i think the song is similar to jeonwon diary and has a very specific demographic market despite them trying to appeal to older audiences with the sampling of the older song. i think the older generations would be easier to disregard the silly scandal now and so ccm tried to market to them, but at the same time market to younger people, but i don't think it is going to work out how they hoped. :( i just hope their other new song later this month can do well!

and it's interesting seeing how well painkiller did compared to number nine! i hope ccm will do more collabs like that because although they aren't amazingly successful, they still do quite well overall!

in the end, i think it is pretty common for a lot of artists to not be as successful with their later releases as they are compared to their first or "peak"-middle time. the fact is true with kara (singles and album sales have been decreasing) who i think are the kpop girl group t-ara can most easily be compared to. but i think that they can turn around eventually (look at 4minute hahahaha) and be #1 again!!!

good post!! b^.^d

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Nath, you said "their other new song later this month".

Are we to expect another release by T-ara?

Isn't it Hide and Seek on 31st December?

Analysis like these are pretty hard to find, and it's nice having them here on diadems where fans can discuss in peace without haters nitpicking. I do enjoy these analysis so much since it helps me appreciate every little things this girls does. I hope you can continue making such analysis in the future as well! :lol:

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Isn't it Hide and Seek on 31st December?

Don't tell me this song was supposed to be included in 1977 Again album but excluded again because CCM want to do another comeback/release.

Within less than 6 months T-ara would have 3 releases. Can we sense CCM's desperation now? They, too, probably are aware of how little they sell this time around. So, launching 3 title-track-comebacks are probably their all-out options: better spend more and have 3 full promo cycles rather than save a little but risk the other 2 songs (DYKM and H&S) unheard of (not selling as title tracks).

Hopefully DYKM is having good reception, and H&S will do even better.

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