Television singing competitions create stars? Empirical evidence from the digital music chart in South Korea

  • Daegon ChoEmail author
  • Seok Ho Lee
  • Yeawon Yoo
  • Hyo-Youn Chu
Original Article


After the success of American Idol, television singing competitions have become widespread and popular around the world. Although this format has had a substantial influence on the music market of many countries, few studies have quantified this influence. This study examines whether musicians from singing competitions (contestants) earned more money through digital music sales than did other musicians (non-contestants). We used a unique dataset that summed sales from the top 200 monthly digital music chart of South Korea between 2011 and 2014. We analyze the number of the song sold during this tenure, considering several variables such as gender and seasonality. Our findings indicate that songs by contestants yielded larger sales than did those of non-contestants. This positive impact is greater for the top two finalists in the competitions. The insights gained in this study will provide guidance to record companies who are considering recording contracts with contest winners.


Television singing competition Reality TV Digital music chart Music industry Popular music 

JEL Classification

L82 Z11 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of BusinessKorea Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of JournalismThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems EngineeringArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  4. 4.College of International StudiesKyung Hee UniversityYonginSouth Korea

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