NCT 127‘s name has always been synonymous with record-breaking album sales and a formidable fanbase. From their 3rd studio album, Sticker boasting 2.4 million sales in just a week to the phenomenal first-week sales of 1.5 million for 2 Baddies, NCT 127 has consistently set the bar high. However, with the release of their 5th studio album, Fact Check, a cloud of confusion and disbelief hangs over their fans.
The album recorded an unexpected dip in sales, with only 256,800 copies sold on its first day. In comparison, more than 760,000 copies of Sticker were sold within the first day and nearly 500,000 for 2 Baddies. Now, three days post-release, the figures stand at a mere 278,775.
[HT] NCT 127 (@NCTsmtown_127) 5th Full Album <Fact Check>
DAY 1: 256,803
DAY 2: 006,746
DAY 3: 015,226
— KOREAN SALES (@koreansales_twt) October 8, 2023
Given the legacy of NCT 127’s previously soaring sales, fans are understandably bewildered and frustrated. This decline has sparked a wave of concern and several theories, with most fingers pointing at SM Entertainment‘s history of stocking issues.
Pre-orders getting sold out, albums not getting shipped out, record stores in the US receiving low supply of albums with some receiving none at all… this is ridiculous, don't you think?#RestockFactCheckAlbums@virginmusic @UMG@SMTOWNGLOBAL
— 링 (@NCTDAOYlNG) October 7, 2023
We appreciate the effort of the fans who are streaming & voting right now. But, let us also take a moment to call out SM & their US label to restock 'Fact Check' albums, as well as check & fix distribution issues ASAP.#RestockFactCheckAlbums @UMG @SMTOWNGLOBAL @SMTOWN_USA pic.twitter.com/sAivXSQNlW
— NCT 127 Voting (@127voting) October 7, 2023
We demand you to check & fix the album distribution issues. RESTOCK FACT CHECK ALBUMS NOW. Stop the evident negligence & incompetence when it comes to NCT 127. You are causing inconvenience to everyone.#RestockFactCheckAlbums@virginmusic @UMG @SMTOWNGLOBAL @SMTOWN_USA pic.twitter.com/KOPEuNdk2f
— esty (@helloitsesty) October 9, 2023
We have checked 13 JB-Hifis in Australia
– no chandelier* or storage versions are available, only Poster (Exhibit) versions.
– in every store checked so far only 0 or 1 member versions are available
– Chandelier will not ship till Nov@SMTOWNGLOBAL pic.twitter.com/KFn2hhYTJt
— Pod of Sky Whales – Lee Taeyong Australian support (@podofskywhales) October 7, 2023
Though one of the largest entertainment companies in South Korea, SM has faced previous backlashes related to stocking inefficiencies. Fans have voiced their concern, urging the entertainment giant to restock Fact Check albums across stores, believing the understocking to be the primary reason behind the plummeting sales. With such a consistent track record of high sales, many argue that this abrupt fall can’t be attributed merely to a change in fanbase dedication or purchasing patterns.
The sense of dissatisfaction doesn’t end with stocking issues. NCT 127’s promotional schedule, which plays a vital role in any group’s comeback success, has also come under scrutiny. Fans expressed disappointment upon learning that the group won’t be performing at M COUNTDOWN and Inkigayo in the first week of their comeback. These music shows, known for their vast viewership and influence, have historically been significant platforms for artists to showcase their new work and interact with fans.
The twists and turns of Ilichil & chilzen during this comeback:
– no inkigayo & mcountdown on ilichil’s first comeback week
– promotion that has absolutely NO effort
– PRE ORDER album sold out? This isn't even a ready stock item, why?
Look at how @SMTOWNGLOBAL sabotaged nct 127🙄 pic.twitter.com/nXUZbyN1IL
— seni (@_yourarts) October 4, 2023
This isn’t the first time SM Entertainment has found itself amidst stocking controversies. Last year, the K-Pop titan had to release an official statement regarding the unavailability of one version of Red Velvet‘s album. Fans were left high and dry when the album went out of stock within mere hours after preorders opened on multiple platforms. The statement admitted to producing the album in limited quantities, a move that understandably did not sit well with the ardent fanbase.
SM has announced that they will be producing more of the Cake Version after seeing the support from fans.
— Irene 아이린 Global (@irene_global) November 11, 2022
honestly don't wanna be negative but the way sm has been handling this cb just sucks
it's clear they want sales but
– cake ver was oos in an hour
– it was restocked but not on all sites
– (not even announcing) a digipack version 5 days before release
– STILL no album details
— 🎂 (@baechurenes) November 23, 2022
It remains to be seen how SM Entertainment will address this latest controversy. While the specifics of the reason behind Fact Check‘s low sales are yet to be unraveled, fans are ardently hoping for a quick resolution.