Although the purchasing of albums worldwide has declined due to the increased popularity of streaming websites, one industry that has not seen this is K-Pop. It seems as if more and more fans are buying physical albums from their favorite artists, and you can’t blame them!
However, recently, that idea of consumerism and particularly the rising popularity of collecting photocards has come under fire from netizens. Images have been shared of discarded albums on the streets after netizens mass buy to collect the photocards.
The person who threw out the two boxes at the number 6 exit near Myeongdong’s City Record after only taking out the photocards.. Please throw out your trash properly. How can you just leave it like this?
With the issue of the environment becoming more and more important, K-Pop is trying to do their bit to help by tackling the issues. VICTON made waves by releasing digital versions of their album and SF9‘s upcoming album is set to be made from materials to release an album that can be decomposed naturally.
VICTON 3rd Single Album
[Chronograph] Platform Album 판매 안내!
한정 판매되는 플랫폼 앨범도
앨리스 여러분의 많은 사랑 부탁드립니다💛💙
— VICTON(빅톤) (@VICTON1109) January 18, 2022
Like other K-Pop companies, HYBE has been trying to do their bit. They started by appointing a new member of the board Lee Mi Kyung, the CEO of GreenFund.
Following the lead of groups like VICTON, HYBE has also tried to reduce the material with their new releases. In particular, they have tested their ESG strategy (to showcase their consideration for environmental and social issues) with the release of BTS J-Hope‘s solo album Jack In The Box.
After the announcement of J-Hope’s solo album, it was revealed that there would not be a “physical” version of the album.
It’ll essentially be just a package with a QR code and photocards. So, the album will consist of exactly a Card Holder (1 of 2), Photocard A (1 type), Photocard B (1 of 2), and QR card (User guide).
When ARMYs saw the report about HYBE using J-Hope’s album to try and implement this new environmental strategy, many shared their anger for several reasons, and “HYBE” was trending worldwide.
In particular, they wondered why they tested in on J-Hope’s album that only has two versions and compared it to other groups under the label who have had more for recent comebacks with a crazy amount of photocards to collect.
Others shared their anger that they tested it on J-Hope for his debut solo album. In particular, the lack of physical albums will have an impact on the idol’s ability to place on worldwide charts and also how much profit J-Hope will receive.
Another issue ARMYs and netizens have with this announcement is that, despite the company’s “dedication” to the environment, they are also participating in NFTs. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a type of cryptocurrency.
Back in November 2021, HYBE revealed that they planned to partner together to develop an NFT business under a new joint venture. It will allow artists’ IP-based content to become digital assets for fans.
Yet, despite its appeal, there are major disadvantages. French artist Joanie Lemercier had no idea his NFT release would result in 8.7 megawatts of energy being used for its auction. This is basically how much energy a graphics art studio creates but in like two whole years… This artist did it in only ten seconds. It goes against any attempts at helping the environment that HYBE is claiming to do.
It also goes against the messages BTS promotes about the environment and has done through campaigns with Samsung.
Although HYBE seems to be trying to enforce a positive message to protect the environment through J-Hope’s album, many netizens are angry at the hypocrisy of the action. They chose but have recently released albums for other acts with multiple versions and photocards while still moving forward with NFTs.
You can read more about HYBE’s plans for J-Hope’s solo album below.