Kris Wu Falsely Accused of Cheating US iTunes Charts After Securing #1 Spot

By Jonathan Zhong, November 9, 2018

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Rap of China producer and judge Kris Wu had a rough birthday this year as he found himself the target of accusations of manipulating the US iTunes sales charts.

Fans of Ariana Grande were left befuddled on November 5, when Kris Wu took up seven out of the top 10 positions on the US iTunes charts, impeding Grande’s new single ‘Thank U, Next’ from nabbing the top slot, while also making #whoiskriswu the Twitter hashtag of the day (although, we preferred #KrisWho).

According to a screengrab taken from Digital Sales Data on November 5, the sales of Wu’s ‘November Rain’ reached a staggering 14 million, which was more than 1,600 times that of the second place single, ‘Shallow’ by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

1864172208.jpgImage via @Julie94715839/Twitter

The Guangzhou-born popstar, who has over 44 million fans Weibo, released his new album, Antares, on November 2 as “a gift to himself and his fans.”

A day later, Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’ was released and has since been sitting atop the Spotify and Apple Music charts. With expectations being that the diva’s new single would perform just as well on the iTunes charts, Wu’s out-of-nowhere ‘usurpation’ definitely caught fans off-guard.

Amid questions regarding who Kris Wu is, was also speculation that Wu was manipulating the charts using bots. These claims came after screenshots of a tweet (seen below), which appeared to have been posted by Grande’s manager Scooter Braun, began to circulate on the Internet last Sunday. 

scooter-braun-tweet-1.jpg
Screengrab via Sina.com

Braun later addressed the scandal in an Instagram post. The post, which featured an image of Wu, included a lengthy statement that denied his involvement in any malicious rumors and proclaimed Wu’s innocence. He said that he had got in touch with Wu and learned that Antares was first released on iTunes in the US but was held back in China until his birthday, on November 6. As such, fans who were eager to listen to the album were required to purchase it on the US iTunes platform first. 

The rationale behind Braun’s story seems to have been correct as, after Wu’s album was released in China on Tuesday, all of his songs slipped out of the top 100 list while Grande's ‘Thank U, Next’ claimed the top spot.

While the whole debacle showcased the incredible purchasing power of Chinese music fans, it also lead some to criticize Ariana Grande for reportedly liking an online post that accused Wu of cheating. 

READ MORE: Chinese Pop Star Kris Wu Performing at 2018 Super Bowl Live

[Cover image via @Mr 凡先生/Weibo]

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