Korean Non-Profits Say Idol Album Donations Are Useless… And Beg K-Pop Fans To Stop “Dumping”

The discussion has led K-Pop fans to think about how the industry could go greener.

On one of Korea’s largest online communities, a Korean user — whose father allegedly runs an orphanage — posted a plea…

An orphanage in Korea, unrelated to the one in the article. | kculturechannel/YouTube

… revealing how the non-profit organization constantly receives “useless” K-Pop idol albums as “charitable contributions“.

I’m furious at K-Pop fans who give away the extra copies of albums that they bought so they can go to fan meetings or so their groups can break records… What you’re doing is not donating. You’re dumping your garbage at us.

— User

The user called out K-Pop fandoms that “dump” tens of thousands of albums that are “open, without photo cards and/or other extra contents, and often scratched up“.

A box of unwrapped albums donated by a fan, unrelated to the albums in the article. | Lovinghands

These “used quality” CDs then become “nothing but luggage that takes up storage space” for the orphanage.

Kids here are no older than 10. They’re not interested in idols. So it’s not like these albums are easy to get rid of. Eventually, the organization has to use its own funds to request trash pickup.

Let’s not pretend these so-called donations come with good intentions or the pure purpose of promoting the groups.

— User

When comments asked why the orphanage doesn’t turn down the album donations, the user explained it’s not that easy for non-profits to “choose which donations to receive and which to turn down” — especially because “being picky” could complicate future charitable contributions that can be useful for the organization.

A non-profit accepting album donations, unrelated to the non-profits in the article. | NGONews

When the post went viral, other non-profit organization employees spoke up in agreement. Many pointed out that “there is only so many people who want” these open and used quality albums. They criticized, “the leftovers have no real use in the end.”

An open, “used” quality album donated to Incheon City, unrelated to the ones in the article. | Joongboo Ilbo

One also said, “The kids at orphanages know why these albums come to them.

When I ask the kids if they want an idol album, they go, “Albums again?” They ask me why people keep sending them albums. And what am I supposed to tell them?

— Commenter

An anonymous Red Cross employee even claimed that some fans go as far as reporting the non-profit for turning down the album donations….

Yeah… Red Cross once tried to turn down an idol album donation and the senders threatened to file official complaints against the organization for being “shady” about charity.

— Commenter

… all the while requesting the recipient organizations for donation certificates and press releases. Upon realizing the darker side of truth to K-Pop idol album donations, Korean fans are actively voicing that it is not only the “pressure to bulk-buy” that needs to change…

An excess of albums purchased by a fan to qualify for a seat at the fan meeting, unrelated to albums in the article. | THEQOO

… but also the industry, for a “greener” way of doing albums.

  • “K-Pop really needs to work on replacing physical CDs… They’re such a huge waste. The donations stem from the industry making fans break records this way.”
  • “I actually grew up at an orphanage and I still remember how the bookshelves were full of idol albums and not books… And the younger kids there look at the dolled-up idols and wonder why they had to end up the way they did. Just stop donating.”
  • “I get the need for fans to bulk buy albums because they want to go to fan meetings and they want to collect the photo cards and they want to break records… but man, the industry should get it together and go green.”
  • “It doesn’t matter if the albums are open or not. THEY MEAN NOTHING TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T STAN THE GROUPS. What use will little kids have?”
  • “Honestly? The way Korea’s music and album consumption is structured is one of the weirdest. How are we supposed to be proud of an industry built on and still supportive of practices like these?”
Source: WikiTree, Joongboo Ilbo, Instiz and THEQOO (1) and (2)