Red Velvet Wendy recently stated that buying one album is enough and showed great consideration for fans.
Recently, Red Velvet member Wendy communicated with fans, and told the fandom that buying only one album is enough. “I don’t know about concerts, but please don’t buy many album copies. One is enough. It’s enough to listen to our music and support us”, she said.
Wendy’s statement soon draws attention, and many Kpop fans are also showing their worry about overspending due to the industry’s tendency to release multiple album versions.
In fact, like Wendy pointed out, idol group albums are often released in various versions with different album jackets, photo books, and photocards, causing fans to empty their wallet in order to have a full collection.
Alongside this trend are many related selling schemes such as fan signing events, public broadcast participation, and video call events, causing fans to inevitably get poorer day by day. Wendy knows this situation better than anyone else, so the ironic situation of an artist telling her fans to not buy her own album occurred.
So, why did idol albums, which were supposed to contain only CDs, become a kind of photo book with numerous versions? The reason is the industry’s bad habits of being bound by sales and records.
Regarding this, an industry insider mentioned the competition for Billboard charts, domestic chart rankings, year-end awards, etc – which all takes album sales into account and causes physical sales to be more important than the music itself.
In fact, the situation seems to be getting worse, and physical sales are constantly breaking new records as competition becomes more intense.
“The number alone looks like the heyday of the album in the late 1990s, but it can’t be compared because it’s not a single album”, the industry insider said, adding, “This excess of album versions may undermine the status of the K-pop scene.”
In addition, fans who participate in the practice of buying albums would take only the photocard inclusions and throw away the rest of the albums.
However, there are also views that multiple album versions is a survival strategy. Kang Tae Gyu, a popular culture critic, explained to YTN Star, “Clearly, the tactic can be seen as a form of gimmick, but from a different point of view, it can also be viewed as a strategy for survival.”
He also added, “First, we have to think about the commercial art that we consume. In the case of idols, they have to make a profit in some way to survive and then release the next album. It is one of the survival strategies to increase the number of artists.”
Despite this opinion, critic Kang Tae Gyu also admitted, “However, one cannot survive with multiple versions of an album alone. No matter how many albums or versions are released, if the music isn’t good, success won’t come. This part must be kept in mind.”