BTS fans, also known as ARMY, are in an uproar over recent ticketing policies and monetization of content by HYBE, the management company for the global superstar group. On May 3rd, ARMYs took to social media to voice their opposition to HYBE’s newly introduced “dynamic pricing system” and “Weverse service improvements” which were announced during a conference call the day before.
The “dynamic pricing system” is similar to the one used by Ticketmaster, in which ticket prices fluctuate depending on demand. This allows artists to receive more revenue and prevents “ticket scalpers” from buying tickets and reselling them for profit. However, many ARMYs have complained about the system, citing expensive prices and chaotic ticketing processes.
One ARMY wrote on their channel, “We have the right to buy tickets for HYBE-affiliated artists’ concerts at regular prices. We oppose the artificially inflated ticket prices deliberately pushed by the company.”
The Weverse service improvements have also caused concern among fans. HYBE announced the monetization of fan community Weverse, including live subtitles, DMs, ad removal, fan letters, artist handwriting posts, and pre-access to live broadcasts. They also plan to introduce a virtual currency called “jelly” on Weverse.
Many ARMYs argue that it is unfair to charge expensive prices for communication with fans who have contributed to BTS’s growth as a global group. Some have pointed out that it is unreasonable to charge for subtitles, especially for global fans with hearing impairments who rely on them to understand the messages conveyed by the artist.
One ARMY stated, “It is unfair for global fans with hearing impairments to have to understand the message conveyed by the artist through ‘paid’ subtitles. Also, it is impossible to charge enough jelly to use the DM service offered by Weverse’s charging system. This results in unnecessary charging of jelly. Is it appropriate to implement a policy to improve the inconvenience felt by fans using Weverse?”
Another ARMY expressed disappointment, saying, “Subtitles are the only way for hearing-impaired individuals to communicate with BTS. The artist said they would break down barriers and even used sign language in their MV, but the company did not even care.”
Despite their concerns, ARMYs have been hesitant to raise issues related to HYBE in the past, fearing that it may affect BTS members. However, this time, they are determined not to remain silent.
In a tweet, one ARMY said, “After we watered, fertilized, drove away pests, built a fence and created a flower garden, the person who only sprinkled the seeds is now charging an entrance fee to our own flower garden.” They continued, “If it wasn’t for the fans who translated the lyrics and interviews without any conditions, they wouldn’t have been able to dream as big as they are now.”
Another ARMY expressed frustration and said, “We have finally become complacent and lost our rights. BTS wants to be loved for their music, not their merchandise.”
Many ARMYs are disappointed by HYBE’s recent actions, especially since Chairman Bang Si Hyuk expressed in previous interviews that the driving force that allowed BTS to come this far is ARMY.
In response to the backlash, HYBE has yet to make a statement. However, it is clear that ARMYs are determined to continue speaking out and holding the company accountable for its actions.