SM Entertainment Shares Concert Ticket Price Comparison With HYBE Labels, But It Backfires

“SM were saying ANYTHING for sympathy to avoid the HYBE takeover…”

As the K-Pop music genre becomes more popular worldwide, it’s become more common for both big and lesser-known artists to tour internationally and give more fans the opportunity to see them live in concert. However, along with this increase in touring has come a frustrating increase in the price of concert tickets as well, to the point where many fans simply can’t afford even the cheapest seats at a show.

BTS concert | Best of Korea

It’s hard to say which artist or company started this trend, if any, but it’s one that pretty much every label seems to be taking part in. Hopefully it isn’t something that continues to get worse as time goes on, but as long as shows are selling out, there’s really no incentive for companies to lower their prices.

In the wake of fan complaints about inflated concert ticket prices, SM Entertainment actually released a graph that compared their prices to those of HYBE Labels over the years. This graph recently caught attention of fans online, and it has ended up getting SM backlash rather than support.

The line graph shows the concert ticket prices of SM Entertainment artists (pink line) compared to HYBE Labels artists (gray line) during different years. In particular, they note how HYBE’s ticket prices went up considerably after the company started acquiring other labels in 2019.

| Instiz
In 2015:
Girls’ Generation & EXO: 110,000 won (~$81 USD)
BIGHIT/HYBE boy group B: 99,000 won (~$73 USD)
In 2019:
Super Junior, EXO, NCT 127, NCT DREAM: 121,000 won (~$89 USD)
BIGHIT/HYBE boy group S (before HYBE’s acquisition): 121,000 won (~$89 USD)
In 2022:
Super Junior, NCT 127, NCT DREAM: 132,000 won (~$97 USD)
HYBE boy group S (after HYBE’s acquisition): 165,000 won (~$122 USD)
In 2023:
aespa: 154,000 won (~$113 USD)
HYBE boy group T: 198,000 won (~$146 USD)

While at first glance, this does seem to put SM Entertainment in a better light by seemingly maintaining lower average ticket prices, it seems there’s more nuance to the graph than it first appears. Netizens claim that SM Entertainment is comparing their average prices to HYBE Labels’ more expensive/VIP tickets, which of course would be worth more.

Additionally, not all of SM Entertainment’s tickets are around 150,000 won or less. SHINee‘s Taemin recently announced a solo concert at the new Inspire Arena in Incheon, and the sound check tickets are apparently starting at 200,000 won (~$147 USD).

Netizens have used this example as evidence that the graph SM Entertainment shared is not as accurate of a comparison as it might at first seem.

On a forum post discussing the graph and Taemin’s sound check prices, the comments section shows how unimpressed people are by the graph and with Korean entertainment companies in general.

We can only hope that someday concert tickets will become more reasonably priced again!

Source: Instiz and Pann Choa