ATEEZ’s 2019 Single ’Say My Name’ Returns to World Digital Song Sales Chart Following Choreography Debate

With nearly 2 dozen entries on World Digital Song Sales, ATEEZ are no strangers to the Billboard chart, but their latest feat shows how fans are taking their support to the charts.

On the World Digital Song Sales chart dated Oct. 22, 2022, ATEEZ’s “Say My Name” re-enters the ranking at No. 11 for its fifth week on the chart overall. The track sold an additional 500 downloads in the week ending Oct. 13 in the U.S., up from a negligible amount in the previous week, making a total of 1,000 downloads in the U.S. this year alone.

Initially released in January 2019 as a single from the boy band’s Treasure EP.2: Zero to One album, “Say My Name” originally peaked at No. 8 on the chart and has sold 8,500 downloads in the U.S., making it ATEEZ’s second-biggest selling digital song in the States. Only “Wonderland,” the single off their first full-length Treasure EP.Fin: All to Action, released in October 2019, has sold slightly more than 8,500.

The surge in support comes after a growing controversy where ATEZ fans—and, possibly, ATEEZ themselves—claim that a famous choreographer swiped a signature move from the “Say My Name” dance on television.

The debate started when South Korean–based dance crew We Dem Boyz (who have helped helm choreography with K-pop acts like CL, SEVENTEEN and SuperM) performed the song “New Thing” on Korea’s popular dance-battle show Street Man Fighter. Sung by chart-topping solo star Zico and hip-hop trio Homies, “New Thing” has been rising up Korea’s local charts mainly due to the viral #NewThingChallenge dance. Soon, fans noticed one part felt similar to a key move from “Say My Name.”

As part of a Street Man Fighter episode, the “New Thing” choreography was created and sequenced by We Dem Boyz leader Vata. He taught his crew moves that imitate mounting and starting a motorcycle before stylishly walking and bobbing their head to the beat with one hand held outward and another on the hip. Vata shared a clip of the “New Thing” choreography on his Instagram.

The moves were claimed to be allegedly similar to a signature part of ATEEZ’s choreography to 2019’s “Say My Name” where the guys perform a walk and bob over the track’s hook—the part earned a nickname as the “driving dance.”

Since the episode airing, Vata began facing online plagiarism accusations over the sequence for “New Thing” that made its way to the original “Say My Name” choreographer, Anze Skrube.

Slovenia-born Skrube, credited in ATEEZ’s Treasure EP.2: Zero to One album as the “Say My Name” choreographer, spoke up about the claims on his Instagram.

“I want to be very quick regarding the allegations of somebody copying our moves,” he said in a video posted on Oct. 11. “Please stop harassing each other and fighting about it. To clarify, from my experience, there is a difference between ‘biting’ a move or being inspired by a move, or biting a whole sequence of moves—this is what happened here in this case. This particular sequence was choreographed by Josh Smith at the end of 2018 and it came out at the beginning of 2019. I’m only saying this because stuff like this happens a lot in the dance industry and that’s not OK. Let’s not do that, people. If you get inspired by something, the least you could do is credit the creators. I’m just going to leave it at that.”

ATEEZ fans also wondered if the group members themselves noticed the similarities.

Fans noted the eight-member boy band incorporating the driving dance into some of their latest performances and using what looks like the “biting” dance sign (mentioned by Skrube) where a dancer smacks one’s forearms together horizontally to physically indicate someone has stolen or copied a move.

On Oct. 14, Vata responded to the claims on his Instagram “in order to prevent further misunderstandings” (according to translations via Soompi).

“When I first heard the music, I was reminded of a plain in the wilderness, and I created the intro choreography to depict arriving on a motorcycle or horseback,” Vata wrote. “That’s why I used the motion of starting an engine at the beginning, followed by a big kick and a dismount after driving, and there is a story with a beginning, middle, and end. I think that it is completely different from the intent and connection between the movements of the choreography to which it is currently being compared.”

Vata added, “As a person who loves the culture of dance, I think it’s admirable when artists and choreographers respect one another. However, it seems like that isn’t the case [right now], which I find very unfortunate. Regardless of the reason, I feel apologetic to the viewers of Street Man Fighter and everyone who has been cheering for We Dem Boyz about the fact that I caused a controversy.”

So far, ATEEZ has not formally responded to the debate but see additional chart activity beyond their 2019 single. The boy band’s latest EP, The World EP.1 : Movement, re-entered World Albums (at No. 8 this week), Top Current Album Sales (at No. 19), and Top Album Sales (No. 22)

Jeff Benjamin