In the modern era where highly-commodified cultural products compete heavily for mass consumption, finding the principles behind the complex process of how successful, "hit" products emerge remains a vital scientific goal that requires an interdisciplinary approach. Here, we present a framework for tracing the cycle of prosperity-and-decline of a product to find insights into influential and potent factors that determine its success. As a rapid, high-throughput indicator of the preference of the public, popularity charts have emerged as a useful information source for finding the market performance patterns of products over time, which we call the on-chart life trajectories that show how the products enter the chart, fare inside it, and eventually exit from it. We propose quantitative parameters to characterize a life trajectory, and analyze a large-scale data set of nearly 7,000 songs from Gaon Chart, a major weekly Korean Pop (K-Pop) chart that covers a span of six years. We find that a significant role is played by nonmusical extrinsic factors such as the established fan base of the artist and the might of production companies in the on-chart success of songs, strongly indicative of the commodified nature of modern cultural products. We also review a possible mathematical model of this phenomenon, and discuss several nontrivial yet intriguing trajectories that we call the "Late Bloomers" and the "Re-entrants" that appear to be strongly driven by serendipitous exposure on mass media and the changes of seasons.