The end-of-year lists have recently been published by Gaon. The first section begins with a short review of chart-toppers before moving to the next section, which covers certifications. For those who are interested in further reading, extras are mentioned at the very end.
Let’s get started!
Gaon Digital Chart
However, the table below only identifies artists whose songs became their first chart-toppers on the Gaon Digital Chart.
|KyoungSeo||Shiny Star (2020)|
|Lim Young-woong||My Starry Love|
|NCT Dream||Hot Sauce|
|Oh My Girl||Dun Dun Dance|
|Lee Mu Jin||Traffic Light|
|Sokodomo (feat. Zion.T and Wonstein)||Merry-Go-Round|
|Be’O (feat. Mino)||Limousine|
In addition, a list of songs that went to #1 on any given week, or had accumulated the most points for a given month, are also summarised here.
Gaon Album Chart
All albums were ranked in a year-end list for 2021 that was published separately by Gaon here.
However, the table below only identifies artists whose albums became their first chart-toppers on the Gaon Album Chart.
|Dreamcatcher||Dystopia: Road to Utopia|
|CIX||Hello Chapter Ø: Hello, Strange Dream|
|Kim Woo-seok||2nd Desire (Tasty)|
A list of albums that went to #1 on any given week, or had accumulated the most sales for a given month, are also summarised here.
In 2021, 112 certifications were awarded by Gaon across the digital, downloads and album categories. Among these 112 certifications, 39 were awarded solely to 2021 releases, and 23 were re-certified by way of upgrading. In total, 65 names were mentioned, with 37 achieving certifications in any one of these categories for the first time.
It is worth noting that this listing also includes certifications issued by Gaon in January 2022.
In 2021, Gaon issued certifications to 67 albums. This information is summarised below in a table and is taken from the full listing published by Gaon.
|1P||Poet | Artist|
|1M||NCT RESONANCE Pt. 2 – The 2nd Album|
|1P||Breath of Love : Last Piece|
|1P||KAI – The 1st Mini Album|
|1P||One-reeler / Act IV|
|1P||The Classic Album I – My Favorite Arias|
|1P||The Classic Album II – My Favorite Songs|
|1P||NCT 2018 EMPATHY|
|1P||We Go Up|
|1P||THE FIRST STEP : CHAPTER ONE|
|1P||THE FIRST STEP : TREASURE EFFECT|
|2P||minisode1 : Blue Hour|
|2P||Eyes wide open|
|1P||Don`t Call Me – The 7th Album|
|4M||MAP OF THE SOUL : PERSONA|
|1P||Cle : LEVANTER|
|1P||Kick Back – The 3rd Mini Album|
|1P||The Renaissance – The 10th Album|
|1P||5th Album ‘LILAC’|
|1P||NCT RESONANCE Pt. 2 – The 2nd Album (Kit)|
|1M||Bambi – The 3rd Mini Album|
|1M||3RD ALBUM ‘An Ode’|
|2P||ZERO : FEVER Part.2|
|2M||맛 (Hot Sauce) – The 1st Album|
|1P||Cle 1 : MIROH|
|1P||THE FIRST STEP : CHAPTER TWO|
|3P||혼돈의 장 : FREEZE|
|1P||One Of A Kind|
|1M||DON`T FIGHT THE FEELING – Special Album|
|2P||Taste of Love|
|1M||8th Mini Album ‘Your Choice’|
|1P||SPECIAL ALBUM ‘DIRECTOR`S CUT’|
|1P||ARE YOU THERE? – The 2nd Album Take.1|
|2P||KILL THIS LOVE|
|2P||BORDER : DAY ONE|
|1P||Hello Future – The 1st Album Repackage (Kit)|
|1P||공감 – The 1st Mini Album|
|1M||Hello Future – The 1st Album Repackage|
|2P||6TH MINI ALBUM [THRILL-ING]|
|1P||Queendom – The 6th Mini Album|
|3M||LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’|
|1P||‘FOLLOW’ : FIND YOU|
|3P||BORDER : CARNIVAL|
|2M||Sticker – The 3rd Album|
|2P||ZERO : FEVER Part.3|
|2P||CRAZY IN LOVE|
|2P||Savage – The 1st Mini Album|
|1M||DIMENSION _ DILEMMA|
|2M||9th Mini Album ‘Attacca’|
|3P||Favorite – The 3rd Album Repackage’|
|3P||혼돈의 장: FIGHT OR ESCAPE|
|2P||3rd Single Album [MAVERICK]|
|2P||Formula of Love: O+T=<3|
More than 35 artists received certifications in this category, with 14 receiving a certification in this category for the first time. During this period, at least 38 of those certifications were given to 2021 releases. Moreover, 17 albums were re-certified by way of upgrading.
|Boy group||MAP OF THE SOUL : PERSONA|
|Girl group||Eyes wide open
Taste of Love
KILL THIS LOVE
Savage – The 1st Mini Album
Formula of Love: O+T=<3.
|Male soloist||Bambi – The 3rd Mini Album|
In 2021, the highest certification was given to MAP OF THE SOUL : PERSONA, for exceeding shipments of four million. This album is not only the current recordholder recorded for boy groups, but also across all albums in the history of the chart. For girl groups this year, the highest certification was given to three groups whose individual albums exceeded 500,000 shipments.
For soloists, this has also been a year for change. Bambi – The 3rd Mini Album is the first album by a soloist that has received a Million certification. Additionally, this is the first year where female soloists have been certified for their albums, with R and LALISA respectively achieving the highest recorded shipments among female soloists for that same year.
In 2021, Gaon issued certifications to 11 songs in the category of downloads. This information is summarised below in a table and is taken from the full listing published by Gaon.
|1P||YES or YES|
|1P||작은 것들을 위한 시 (Boy With Luv)|
|1P||사계 (Four Seasons)|
|1P||Paris In The Rain|
|1P||내 생에 아름다운|
|1P||어떻게 이별까지 사랑하겠어, 널 사랑하는 거지|
All these songs are newly certified, though it is the first time for eight artists to have been certified in this particular category.
In 2021, Gaon issued certifications to 34 songs in the category of streaming. This information is summarised below in a table and is taken from the full listing published by Gaon.
|1P||살짝 설렜어 (Nonstop)|
|1P||솔직하게 말해서 나|
|2P||어떻게 이별까지 사랑하겠어, 널 사랑하는 거지|
|1P||취기를 빌려 (취향저격 그녀 X 산들)|
|1P||How You Like That|
|2P||오늘도 빛나는 너에게 (To You My Light)|
|1P||Don’t Start Now|
|2P||늦은 밤 너의 집 앞 골목길에서|
|1P||잠이 오질 않네요|
|1P||우리 왜 헤어져야 해|
|1P||thank u, next|
|1P||Peaches (Feat. Daniel Caesar, Giveon)|
|1P||이제 나만 믿어요|
|1P||Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) (BTS Remix)|
More than 27 artists received certifications in this category, with 17 receiving a certification in this category for the first time. During this period, at least five of those certifications were given to 2021 releases. Moreover, six songs were re-certified by way of upgrading.
This section includes extras that might loosely relate to one’s success on the Gaon Chart.
Cumulative million sellers
In 2022, it was reported in the media that many Korean artists recorded over 1,000,000 cumulative shipments across all of their albums within a 10 year-period (2011–2021).
As mentioned in the table above, for these eight Korean artists, they were mentioned in the report for the first time, after recording 1,000,000 album shipments across all of their Korean releases, within a 10-year-period.
However, others may have achieved this, too, though this has not been confirmed by Gaon themselves. For example, IU, another female Korean soloist, might have surpassed 1,000,000 cumulative shipments across all her albums.
Music show wins
In 2021, 19 artists achieved their first music show wins.
|KyoungSeo||Shining Star (2020)||01/10|
|U-Know Yunho||Thank U||01/29|
|Lim Young-woong||My Starry Love||03/20|
|Rosé||On The Ground||03/24|
|Lee Mu Jin||Traffic Light||08/22|
|Lee Chan Won||Convenience Store||08/31|
|fromis_9||Talk & Talk||09/07|
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