What is KOFICE?
The Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE) is the designated institute for international cultural exchange under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea whose goal is to connect Korea to the world through culture. The institute conducts various activities for the promotion of international cultural exchange such as consistent industry research, various Hallyu reports, as well as forums and seminars.
What is the Hallyu White Paper?
The Hallyu White Paper is an annual report issued by KOFICE that announces Hallyu trends of various cultural industries such as broadcast, film, music, etc. The most recent 2017 Hallyu White Paper was registered on May 8, 2018.
Why does BTS’ album count as 1 album even though there are 4 versions but EXO’s Chinese/Korean versions can’t be combined?
Since 2013, 4 consecutive full albums of EXO were recorded as Million Sellers but the figure included their Chinese version album, which is originally counted separately, as well as their repackage albums, making BTS the first to surpass 1,000,000 sales with one album. Some have even argued that, for instance, EXO’s first album, which featured “Wolf” as the title song, cannot be classified as the same album as the repackage, which featured “Growl” as the title song. On the other hand, although there were also 4 versions of the BTS album, each with different album covers and photos, all albums sold were essentially the same album with different packaging. It is also worth mentioning that BTS’ second full album “Wings” had also sold over a million copies but was also not considered for this situation since figures were combined with the repackage album.
It is noteworthy, however, that this is simply the criteria used by KOFICE and other Korean media outlets to come to the conclusion that BTS’ “LOVE YOURSELF 承 ‘Her'” was the first single album in 16 years to achieve over a million album sales. It does by no means deny the fact that EXO is also a million seller. EXO was a group that was originally made to target both the Korean and Chinese market and therefore, launching a Korean and Chinese version of their album is essentially a part of their identity. However, EXO’s final album sales figure reflected both Korean and Chinese versions of their albums and repackage albums while BTS’ final album sales figure reflected 4 versions of the same album.
Is EXO still a “Million Seller”?
EXO is still a “Million Seller”. In fact, they have also been considered a “Quadruple Million Seller” due to the fact that they achieved sales of over 1,000,000 albums for 4 consecutive albums.
According to the 2017 Hallyu White Paper by KOFICE, BTS is the first artist to achieve over 1,000,000 domestic album sales with a single album in 16 years since g.o.d. EXO has achieved over a million sales before BTS’ achievement but was not considered for this particular case due to the fact that the album sales figures included the Korean/Chinese versions as well as their repackage albums.