If you are music lover who used with music service like Spotify (for streaming) or iTunes Music (for buying MP3) and planning to live in Korea for extended amount of time, here is a bad news for you: Both service is yet available in Korea, which is understandable considering their “protectionist” policy on foreign internet service (Even Google are not so useful here, a lot of information can only be gathered via Naver/Daum).
Of course you are still able to use those service if you still paying using home issued credit card or connecting thorugh VPN (As for April 2016, you do not need any VPN to use premium Spotify or iTunes Music Store, just stick with your own language on the setting). But otherwise, if you curious enough to know what do Korean uses for this purpose, and want to use the service (which can be cheaper and payable in KRW) this article will show you some of their home-grown service.
At first, I want to list the service that I know offer both Music Download and Streaming:
- Melon (멜론) www.melon.com
- Naver Music (네이버 뮤직) music.naver.com
- Bugs (벅스) bugs.co.kr
- M-Net http://www.mnet.com/
Olleh Music https://www.ollehmusic.com/
Here are some common fact about those service:
- They are only available in Korean. But if you can read some Hangeul, and learn some common terminology (I would show you later here), it is not as cryptic as you would expect.
- They offer both music download and streaming service.
- They offer several plan from the cheapest streaming only plan (무제한 감성) for as cheap as 5000KRW to 100-150 MP3 Download plan (MP3 저장) which cheaper than buying each music separately (usually 600-700KRW per music). Furthermore, they always offer 3 months of discounted price which you can take advantage on)
- They offer several client from web based to smartphone.
- They offer virtually same collection. If you like Korean music, you will find their service offer more collection than any other international service. For the foreign/non-Korean music, they offer fair amount of music that issued by top major labels and I never find any trouble finding popular American Pop or even Eurodance track with some exception of those come from independent labels.
They accept payment in same kind of payment method usually used in Korean website, you know, with Active-X stuff and thing.
Then if you are curious enough to start this service, given that you already familiar with Korean payment system, then you can start using one of those service. Not for purpose for endorsing a particular brand, but I would recommend you to use 멜론 as a first time trial for some reasons: They have a very good Windows based client which play the music along with its lyric like in Karaoke music video, albeit a bit pricier than other service.
Here are some terminology that you need to be familiar with if you want to use those services:
- 이용권구매: The first time you open those website, look at this particular text (usually on upper right corner) and click on it to see what kind of plan do they offer.
- 3개월 특가: Special price for 3 months, as mentioned earlier.
- 전체 이용권: If you want to pay “separately” on each month, then you can use this plan although it is more expensive than using automatic payment (자동결제/정기결제)
- 무제한 듣기: Unlimited listening / streaming
- 구매: Order, 선물: Gift
- 회원가입: New user registration
- 결제방법: Payment method, this can be: 신용카드 (Credit Card/Check Card), 계촤이제 (Money Transfer), 휴대폰결제 (Mobile payment).
- 전제이용권: Current plan
- 차트: Chart / Music Chart
- 최신음악: New song
- 인기음악: Popular song
- 장르: Genre
- 가요/국내음악: Korean Music
- 해외음악: International Music
- 가사: Lyric
And the rest of terminology are mostly using Konglish.