BTS fans protest Korean government probe into alleged chart manipulation

BTS fans protest Korean government probe into alleged chart manipulationBTS fans protest Korean government probe into alleged chart manipulation
via Muply (left), Hybe (right)
Ryan General
12 days ago
BTS’s fanbase is protesting against the South Korean government’s investigation into alleged chart manipulation by the boy band’s agency Hybe (formerly Big Hit). 
Key points:
  • The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism investigation follows the recent resurfacing of a 2017 case that referenced Hybe’s alleged use of “sajaegi marketing” (illegal marketing) to promote a 2015 BTS album.
  • BTS’s fandom, known as Army, argued that the probe undermines the superstar K-pop group’s organic success and global achievements.
  • The fanbase launched the viral hashtag #SouthKoreaApologizeToBTS to defend their idols.
  • Hybe has denied engaging in chart manipulation and maintained they were the victim of extortion.
About “sajaegi”:
  • Sajaegi is the practice of manipulating music charts through bulk purchases or streams. Those who are convicted of such can face up to two years in prison or a fine of 20 million Korean won ($14,700).
The details:
  • In 2017, Hybe was blackmailed by a group led by a person surnamed Lee, who threatened to expose their alleged “sajaegi marketing” practices for the album “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2.”
  • Lee was sentenced to prison, but the court’s ruling acknowledged the existence of “chart manipulation” between Lee and Hybe.
  • On May 4, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that it received petitions demanding a probe into Hybe’s marketing practices.
  • Korea Creative Content Agency, which is in charge of all popular culture content in Korea, is set to conduct an investigation based on this petition.
  • Another petition urged the revocation of BTS’s prestigious Order of Cultural Merit should wrongdoing be established.
  • ARMY views the investigation as unnecessary and damaging to BTS’s reputation. They argue that the K-pop supergroup achieved global success based on talent and hard work.
  • Fans online also reiterated that their support lies with the and not the label.
What’s next?:
  • The probe’s outcome could potentially lead to penalties for HYBE, including fines or restrictions on future promotions.
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