K-Pop Fansites: The Good, The Bad, And The Controversial
Fansites have become some of the most controversial figures in K-Pop, drawing mixed reactions from fans, artists, and agencies.
A fansite is a photographer, often dedicated to a particular idol, who takes HD photographs and videos of that idol using a professional camera, such as a DSLR. They capture moments from events such as award shows, fan meetings, and perhaps most controversially, concerts.
In an interview, an anonymous fansite explained how fansites work together to knowingly break the rules at concerts.
The only place where it is harder to take photos is at individual artist concerts. Also when I’ve been overseas it’s a bit harder to take photos but [fansites] watch out for each other when we go with other fansites. If they catch you usually they tell you to clear your SD card, but there’s a lot of programs you can use to recover those images.
Some fansites are fans of their idol, while others work on a purely professional, for-profit basis. Selling photos and footage that, legally, belongs to the artists’ company can, and has had, legal ramifications.
Now, fansites are once again a hot topic, following fansite-on-fan assaults at BTS‘s PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE- LA concerts, as well as HYBE‘s notice about portrait rights.
During the concert for BTS PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE – LA, there have been actions which violated the artists’ portraiture rights and copyrights. All actions that violate BigHit Music and the artists’ portraiture rights and other copyrights are prohibited, such as taking photographs and videos, voice recordings and live streaming etc.
On Twitter, users are calling out fansites for violating rules, endangering fans, and ruining what should be a fun and safe concert experience.
If it's not clear already Fansites run business here. Sell the pictures of the boys but boys dont earn anything even though it's their face.ONLY reason you see outrage from fs not cause they want to see them.I It is cause not being able to take pictures is hurting their business.
— Adi⁷🍎 (@badbye7G) December 2, 2021
Ppl will make a huge fuss about the lies fansites spew around for getting kicked out, yet so many ARMYs like the example here have to suffer through their hands and it's silent. Fansites will do anything to paint themselves as victims while they ruin our experience. https://t.co/czEx3clHUb
— ᴮᴱMoony⁷🌌 (@Sparkle_Moony) December 2, 2021
the amount of solos, multis and army editors defending the fan-sites that were kicked from last nights concert… the head of bts’ security was actively looking for fansites throughout the concert which shows how much bts DO NOT want them there. why is that so hard to understand?
— agust d⁷ is not seeing bts 🙁 (@pjmyoongii) November 29, 2021
Fansites and sasaengs (stalker fans) can be one and the same, but as this fan pointed out, that is not always the case.
But this really need to be addressed upon.. new ARMYs throwing the word sasaengs against all fansites with zero knowledge of the difference of fansites from actual sasaengs and they actually bullying, witch hunting, harassing and actually encouraging violence.
— JUNGKOOK DAILY UPDATE 𝄞ʲᵏ🦋 (@Daily_JKUpdate) December 2, 2021
While fansites and sasaengs both take photos of idols, true fansites respect rules and boundaries. Sasaengs, on the other hand, engage in obsessive stalking behaviors, including: following idols to private schedules, violating their personal space, and endangering their safety.
So, are fansites good or bad? Unfortunately, this question can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. For instance, fansites are not permitted to take photos at concerts, but they are welcome to take photos at other events, such as fansigns.
Fans who cannot attend these events in person often depend on fansites to capture moments, especially for lesser-known groups. Additionally, some artists have thanked fansites for helping them get more exposure.
One of the most famous examples is the viral fancam that skyrocketed Hani‘s popularity and reportedly saved EXID from disbandment.
Hani reportedly wanted to have a meal with the fansite, to thank him, but he politely declined the offer. She also expressed her gratitude for the fancam in an interview.
I am honestly the worst dancer in EXID and that fancam of me was truly the product of great practice. I am proud of the fact that my practice yielded results and people recognized my efforts. I am truly thankful for that fancam and glad to be thinking about it again.
What are your thoughts?