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HYBE's business plans anger BTS fans
  • November 10, 2021 | Music

HYBE's business plans anger BTS fans

Updated : 2021-11-06 09:29


By Dong Sun-hwa

HYBE, home to K-pop juggernaut BTS, disclosed its ambitious plans for 2022, Thursday, but it seems BTS fans are not happy about them.

A few hours after the "2021 HYBE BRIEFING WITH THE COMMUNITY" event, "#BoycottHYBE" became a trending topic on Twitter, where the fans have actively expressed their opposition and anger.

HYBE made two big announcements during the online briefing. It said that it will unveil a webtoon and a web novel featuring BTS in January and that it will set foot into the non-fungible token (NFT) market in cooperation with Dunamu ― Korea's largest cryptocurrency operator ― to enable K-pop lovers to have ownership of digital content and merchandise related to its singers.

Many fans, however, are complaining that HYBE is focusing too much on utilizing BTS's intellectual property to rack up profits instead of providing the members a proper environment where they can work on their music.

"HYBE says it believes in music, but I think it believes in capitalism," one Twitter user commented. Another wrote, "Artists are giving their best to work on music and the company is only using them and their fans for money."

During the briefing, HYBE also unveiled a sample for its upcoming web novel, but it failed to garner positive reactions.

"To me, the novel looks no different from fan fiction," one person wrote on an online forum. "It makes me cringe."

HYBE's ambition with the NFT market is also facing a backlash, with numerous BTS followers pointing out that digital assets are not what they want.

"I want to own physical goods, not digital products," one fan wrote. "That is why people like me reprint BTS photographs."

Another said, "HYBE does not seem to understand the fans' needs at all. We do not need ownership of digital content, but want quality physical products."

Some are criticizing the label for overlooking potential environmental problems that the NFTs can cause, citing the news articles claiming that the creation of an average NFT can generate more than 200 kilograms of carbon emissions. Although HYBE's new partner Dunamu is known to have created "ecologically sustainable" NFTs, many people are still concerned about whether this actually does prevent environmental issues.

"While it is true that there is no ethical consumption under capitalism, this NFT move by HYBE is not just antithetical to BTS's mission with the United Nations, but it is environmentally irresponsible," one Twitter user said, referring to BTS's latest speech at the U.N. stressing the need for action against climate change. "A company that has led innovation for almost a decade can do better than this."

HYBE has not yet responded to the criticism.