Kpop Fans Bristle Over HYBE’s ‘Dynamic Pricing’ Ticket System

HYBE k pop dynamic ticket prices
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HYBE k pop dynamic ticket prices
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Photo Credit: Vogue Taiwan / CC by 3.0

Devoted K-pop fans like the BTS ARMY have taken to social media to voice their concerns and displeasure with HYBE’s dynamic pricing system for concert tickets — a system that borrows from the Ticketmaster playbook.

K-pop fandoms like the BTS ARMY are addressing concerns about HYBE’s dynamic pricing system for concert tickets. Fans are taking to social media to initiate a campaign with hashtags like #SayNoToDynamicPricing and #NoDynamicPricing, expressing their opposition to the agency’s new policy.

One fan’s tweet, in particular, seems to have lit the fire beneath the fanbase regarding the dynamic pricing controversy, criticizing the lack of notice provided to fans about the implementation of the system and asking, “Do you truly believe in music?” That fan shared an example of ticket pricing, initially at 300,000 KRW (around 225.16 USD), which increased to 1 million KRW (around 750.54 USD) due to dynamic pricing.

HYBE unveiled its dynamic pricing system during an investor conference call to reveal the agency’s Q1 2023 earnings. Like Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing system, ticket prices fluctuate based on demand, similar to pricing models for airline tickets and hotel accommodations. As demand increases, the price rises accordingly, changing throughout the ticketing process and making it impossible to know the final price in advance.

“Dynamic pricing has already been applied to recent concerts such as SUGA and TXT and will be applied to all of our artists in the future,” said HYBE during the conference.

Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing structure has been controversial since its implementation for Taylor Swift’s concert in November 2022 went sideways and led to a congressional hearing. The system was introduced to combat scalpers who profit from buying and reselling tickets, while Ticketmaster claims it enables more revenue to go to artists.

The BTS ARMY complaints about HYBE’s dynamic pricing began while purchasing tickets for BTS member Suga’s solo concert in the US. While fans initially assumed Ticketmaster’s policy was to blame for the fluctuation in prices, they would be shocked to discover it was a policy that HYBE had recently implemented. 

“I paid 2.5 million KRW (~1,876 USD) for the ticket alone,” one fan commented. “I didn’t buy it from a scalper. I bought it directly from the source. I first slandered Ticketmaster, but now I see the lowest (of HYBE).”

“After paying $22 to sign up for a paid membership, I got the rights to buy a ticket through a lottery,” explains another. “But on the day of ticketing, the ticket — which cost $400 for a floor ticket — soared every time I clicked on it. It soared all the way up to $1,800 for a floor ticket, and I eventually gave up. In the end, only those with big pockets will be able to go to concerts.”

“We have the right to purchase performances by artists belonging to HYBE at the original price,” concluded one fan on their blog. “I oppose the dynamic ticket system inflating prices, which was determined under the intentional leadership of the agency.”