“I like the artist, but I don’t like their agency.”
“I like artists, but I don’t like their agency.” This dilemma that idol fans often face is mostly two cases: It’s either when the agency almost leaves the artist unattended or ruins the artist’s condition by forcing them to attend harsh schedules.
However, the recent case of HYBE to which BTS belongs is a little unique. They seem to be focusing only on what doesn’t benefit the fans at all. From the styling issues that BTS fans have always complained of, to the recent high price of pajamas, negative words come out whenever HYBE got their hands on such things.
First of all, at Weverse Shop, an official goods shop, a project was carried out to sell MD goods in relay, in which BTS members participated in the design themselves. At that time, pajamas and pillows with BTS Jin‘s character on them were sold, and the pajamas were priced at 119,000 won per set, sparking controversy over the inappropriate price.
In response, even Jin, who designs the goods, said through Weverse, “I asked them to use good materials for the pajamas, but what kind of price is that? I was surprised, too,” he said, indirectly expressing his uncomfortable feelings about this controversy over the expensive pajamas.
HYBE also faced a fan backlash as they previously announced the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) business using BTS members. ARMY (BTS’s fandom) expressed their antipathy to HYBE’s move, saying it violates the values that BTS has emphasized so far as NFT, as a business based on blockchain technology, has been excessively “extracting” money from fans and there is a high possibility of an environmental disruption at this time.
Moreover, HYBE continued to draw resentment from fans due to the webtoon “Super Casting: BTS”, which was recently released on Naver Webtoon. People who criticized the company pointed out that it was so insincere to put only a few photos of BTS members into the webtoon and post them on the Webtoon platform.
Just like that, HYPE is full of motivation to enter new business areas, such as NFT, dramas, and webtoons, by actively utilizing intellectual property rights (IP) using BTS. The intention is to diversify the profit structure rather than simply relying on the profits earned from promoting celebrities and gaining more achievements.
However, the root of an artist is from fans in the end. In other words, fans are consumers. As a result, HYBE’s current move seems to be providing only the “supply” that many consumers do not really want to have.