With some artists in the music industry going out of their way to use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as they seek to generate new sources of income, it can be daunting for those fans who are against all of this technology.
Hybe, the Korean agency behind BTS or TXT , this week announced their partnership with a Korean cryptocurrency exchange company Upbit to enter the non-fungible token (NFT) market . As these tokens rock the arts scene in Asia, the entertainment industry, especially in South Korea, is sparing no effort to join the world of NFT in a move that leverages its huge and loyal fanbase, particularly at a time when that kpop has thrived amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
HYBE ARE NOT THE FIRST … NOR WILL THEY BE THE LAST
JYP Entertainment , one of South Korea’s four largest entertainment conglomerates, which counts kpop artists like 2PM and TWICE among its stars, recently revealed a plan to partner with blockchain company Dunamu to establish an NFT platform dedicated to the kpop .
Brave Girls , one of the top idol groups this past year, partnered with Upbit last month to release limited edition NFT in time for their comeback. And kpop star Se7en , who released her first single last month after a hiatus that lasted nearly two and a half years, has also joined the growing number of musicians and artists releasing their own NFTs.
NFTs are widely considered digital collectibles, and the idea of trading them has become popular with fans . But … actually that already happens in the real world with physical photocards.
Now, could these NFTs be something that fans could buy? Most likely not. The prices of the NFTs are ridiculous compared to something they could physically take out. It all depends on the market and the currency in question, but something as volatile as a cryptocurrency is under a market where millions of euros are reached in an image of a few pixels.
NFT sales could also fit into the existing kpop merchandising model. Many fans would buy as many physical albums as they could, not only to collect photo cards that come with the albums, but also to win the opportunity, through a raffle, to participate in events such as videocalls with fans, in which the winners, their idols, so they can have direct conversations with them while signing the merchan.
TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION, FANS DEMAND
When ACE announced an NFT merchandise release in April, many of their fans weren’t happy with it amid the energy sustainability concerns surrounding NFTs . Technological innovation, however, is something that the k-pop industry has been eager to showcase and has been encouraged to do so by the South Korean government.
The four largest kpop agencies, HYBE, JYP, SM, and YG, have been racing to invest in new forms of technological advancement. Perhaps one of the things that kpop production companies invest a lot in is an innovation narrative. Kpop is positioned as avant-garde. And we see a competition between the main producers… to show that they are at the forefront.
As the pandemic continues to ravage the world, major entertainment companies have tried to show just how tech savvy they are by offering unique virtual experiences for fans .