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!
Whereas Western albums usually contain a CD and a small booklet, K-Pop ones are truly superior. Not only do they have a novel-length photobook with some stunning images…
But they also contain other inclusions from bookmarks, photo standees, postcards, and much more. Considering how much these albums cost, fans are definitely given value for money.
And, of course, the ever-popular photocards. These little pieces of paper might seem like nothing to someone who isn’t a K-Pop fan, but netizens spend hundreds of dollars collecting their favorite idols.
However, recently, that idea of consumerism and particularly the rising popularity of collecting photocards has come under fire from netizens. On an online forum, a netizen posted an image of boxes of NCT’s new Universe albums left on the side of the road.
It is illegal to litter in South Korea but alongside that, when the image was shared, netizens shared their thoughts on this “mass-purchasing” culture that has become more common.
In particular, they explained that K-Pop companies needed to find ways to control these issues as they were damaging the environment due to the material used when creating the albums.
They also added that the sudden increase in the number of photocards available per album and the desire for fans to collect them has also contributed. Many of these include the availability of different versions and special pre-order benefits.
Other fans sympathized with the K-Pop groups, adding that seeing the albums and CDs discarded after taking the photocards can’t be pleasant after all the idols’ hard work.
Another contributor to this mass-purchasing is fansigns. Since the pandemic started, more idols have found ways to speak to fans globally through fansigns both online and in-person. However, to get an opportunity to speak to K-Pop groups means that fans have to buy a lot of albums as the events are normally done through a raffle.
Yet, it isn’t the first time that this has happened. Back in 2018, a post went around showing boxes of WANNA ONE‘s album Undivided on the streets with all of the photocards taken out. Even last year, one non-profitable organization shared that it constantly received “useless” K-Pop idol albums as “charitable contributions.”
While K-Pop is continuing to gain popularity worldwide, it has also raised concerns about the sustainability of albums. Whether companies start just releasing photocards to buy or join the likes or creating more environmentally friendly albums, something needs to be done.
You can read more about how YG Entertainment is helping the environment below.