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“Are BTS fans an ATM to you?”, where is HYBE’s dignity of the no.1 agency?

Seems like HYBE is cutting open the stomach of the goose that lays golden eggs.  

HYBE, BTS’s agency, has been embroiled in controversy over the price of its merches again. As the price is set higher than the merch’s quality, controversy over the agency’s business ability seems to be under fire.

BTS merch price controversy

Pre-orders for BTS’s official goods “BTS Artwork Mask” has begun on Jan 10th. The mask, produced under the concept of BTS’s album “Butter,” has the word “Butter” written on one side and comes in seven colors for each member.

According to the distributor, a set of 7 masks of the same color are 35,000 won per set. In addition, when purchasing a 7-member sets combo, an additional limited edition yellow set will be included, and a total of 56 masks are priced at 245,000 won. On the website, it is notified that only 70,000 sets of masks would be produced worldwide and that no additional masks would be produced. In other words, it is limited-edition merch. However, the merch prices have become controversial. In terms of conversion, it will be sold at 4,375 won to 5,000 won per mask. Usually, the price of a regular KF94 mask is around 200 to 500 won. Compared to the market price, BTS masks’ are 10 to 25 times more expensive.

Fans also complained about this situation. Some said, “It’s cheap considering that it’s idol merch,” but the main response is critical, saying, “Are you threatening fans with the limited edition tag?” “Their goods are expensive every time,” and “They are treating fans like idiots.”

The controversy over the price of HYBE’s goods, which has erupted several times earlier, has further fueled the controversy. BTS goods have caused controversy several times due to their poor quality compared to the high prices. For example, more than 100 consumer complaints related to Weverse Shop under Big Hit have been reported for the second consecutive year. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has warned Weverse Shop to be careful last year.

Recently, the pajamas and pillows in which member Jin directly participated in the design production, were sold at 119,000 won and 69,000 won, respectively, causing controversy over their high prices. Fans pointed out that the price is too high even though it is 100% cotton, unless the material is an expensive one. Jin also said, “I asked them to use good materials for the pajamas, but what price is this? I’m surprised too,” he said, indirectly expressing dissatisfaction with his agency.

HYBE’s entry into the NFT (non-fungible token) business has sparked controversy over fans’ “HYBE boycott”. At the end of last year, HYBE announced that it would make and sell BTS’ image as NFTs while acquiring 861,004 shares of Dunamu, the operator of cryptocurrency Upbit, for about 500 billion won.

However, some fans have engaged in an “HYBE boycott” campaign. This was because there were concerns about environmental damage due to the large amount of electricity consumed in the process of generating NFTs. In particular, BTS’ speech on environmental issues at the UN General Assembly was re-examined and pointed out that such action did not match the message BTS was pursuing. Nevertheless, HYBE was criticized for saying that it would continue to push ahead with the NFT business.

In addition, the webtoon created in collaboration between HYBE and Naver Webtoon was also controversial. The pre-event, which was released in December last year under the name of “SUPER CASTING: BTS”, drew harsh criticisms for its poor content with only speech bubbles attached to poor-quality photos. The rating is only 2 out of 10, which is an embarrassing rating that does not match BTS’ fame.

BTS merch price controversy

HYBE is calling their various businesses an “expansion of fan experience”, but fans are concerned about artists’ excessive commercialization. Many point out that it is an unreasonable business expansion without internal stability, along with criticisms continuing for each business that comes out.

Another factor of dissatisfaction among fans is the negligence of BTS’s domestic music activities. There were few domestic activities during various promotions in the United States. Last year, BTS did not release any Korean songs or participate in any music programs. They did not even make it to the year-end awards ceremonies due to their “long vacation”.

BTS merch price controversy

However, BTS-related businesses are increasing day by day. This is why HYBE is criticized for seeing fans as “financial backers”. Undeniably, HYBE stood tall as the No.1 entertainment company in market capitalization with BTS on its back. However, it is difficult to find the No.1 dignity in their moves that reveal their superficial commercial spirit.

Source
Mydailystar

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