K-fans, i-fans, and boycotts


I was noticing tonight that this post is getting a lot of attention from BAP fans, who apparently are being asked to help out with some kind of boycott by K-fans.

The short version: Don’t just automatically do whatever K-fans tell you to. Do some research into the claims being made, and if the arguments presented to you do or don’t add up, have confidence in your judgement.

The long version: I don’t know what’s going on with BAP right now–I don’t follow K-Pop groups other than Block B closely because I don’t have the time. So I can’t give advice specific to this situation.

But I am going to say that, while there have been cases where it made total and complete sense for fans to boycott something, and K-fans were merely alerting i-fans to a genuine issue, there have also been cases like…well, like last fall’s Block B boycott.

What actually happened was K-BBCs started to feel neglected (Block B was promoting in Japan a lot, but this was also right after the news of Zico and Seolhyun dating came out–draw your own conclusions there about how “chill” BBCs actually are), so they boycotted a DVD.

Now, I thought that was pretty childish, but whatever, right? It’s kind of douchey, but K-BCCs have been getting more activities in Korea post-boycott, so–they got what they wanted, however they did it.

Where things got really questionable in my book was when some of the English-speaking K-BBCs decided to recruit i-BBCs into this boycott.

Since BBCs do believe themselves to be a chill fandom, “Zico is dating–boycott Block B!” wasn’t going to fly. There was some traction for the “Block B is spending too much time in Japan, which is unfair to Korea” idea (J-BBCs were never targeted for recruitment, of course).

The main thing that got lots of play among i-fans, however, was this idea that Block B was being horribly mismanaged. Like BAP, Block B has in fact been horribly mismanaged in the past, so i-fans were quite receptive to the idea that it was happening again.

But gee, Block B is doing really well now, right? And they were doing really well last fall, too!

How to sell this idea that they’re being horribly mismanaged?

That’s easy! LIE.

Lie about how well things were managed in the past. Lie about how members have been treated. Lie about why things happened. When you’re not lying, edit: Keep the rampant anti-Japanese sentiments out of the material created for an English-speaking audience, and make up an English hashtag that asks for feedback, please, while the Korean hashtag tells the label you hate them!

The Block B boycott got so much traction among i-fans that it even got stories in the English-speaking K-Pop press–something that did not happen in Korea. I should note that there’s a real tendency to copy/paste any and all allegations that make their way into English without stopping to figure out if they are true or not. And once they’re in English, they’re also much more likely to get translated into still-other languages because so many people are English-bilingual.

So, yeah. I’m certainly not trying to suggest that K-fans are always lying or always attempting to manipulate i-fans for their own purposes (I hope to God that’s not true, anyway). But you should be aware that it does happen. If this BAP boycott makes zero sense to you, don’t just assume that the K-fans know better and that you should follow along.


11 responses »

  1. From subs.com.au :

    “B.A.P recently announced that they will embark on a world tour starting in March, but it appears that not all fans are happy over this news.

    Following news that B.A.P will only perform three dates in South Korea for their upcoming “B.A.P 2017 ‘Party Baby!’ World Tour”, fans started to trend #BAP_2017월드투어_반대 all over Twitter in protest.

    Many fans are opposing the few concert dates in Korea, which they claim are hurting the group’s domestic fanbase and recognition. Fans have also expressed their concerns regarding the health of each B.A.P member, especially since leader Yongguk is still on hiatus due to his anxiety disorder.

    Some fans are drawing parallels between the latest tour and B.A.P’s 2014 world tour, which ultimately resulted in a lawsuit being filed against the group’s agency.”

    I don’t follow B.A.P. either, but this sounds as you say like Oppar is ignoring us for ifans etc. Also, ‘Party Baby!’ ….?? What I don’t get is how is it supposed to be a Hallyu if no one promotes outside SK. Or that ok as long as the groups go above & beyond at home,but don’t ruin your health doing so,we love you oppa but there best be a dozen shows & fan meetings /s…..one has to begin to suspect where all these “anxiety disorders” & idols w/hair falling out comes from.

    • Hi,

      I think that it’s best to bring to attention the concerns of BABYs. I’m an international fan and even though I don’t support the boycott of BAP’s concert in Korea, the upcoming idea of a world tour is appalling and showcases the horrible management of TS Ent.

      Here’s a quick glimpse of BAP’s upcoming schedule:
      2 March: Philippines Concert
      7 March – 5 April: BAP From Noir Album release and comeback
      24, 25, 26 March: Korea Seoul Boom Concert
      6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16 April: World Tour (USA) [6 cities in 11 days]
      26 April: 7th Japanese Single release
      28, 29, 30 April: 7th Japanese Single events [3 cities in 3 days]
      3, 5, 7, 8, 9 May: World Tour (Europe) [5 cities in different countries in 7 days]

      A full fledged album release/comeback with a world tour sandwiched in between (with such tight schedules) as well as a Japanese single release, BABYs are extremely concerned about the well-being of BAP. Most importantly, BAP has highlighted and reassured BABYs in 2016 that they wished to remain in Korea for more domestic activities. This has led to BABYs (Korean and International) jumping to the conclusion that BAP were not consulted about this world tour (this has happened before the 2014 pre-lawsuit).

      In the midst of this situation, many i-fans have been repeatedly asking TS Ent for feedback regarding the vigorous world tour schedules released by 3rd party ticketing websites, Yongguk’s situation as well as the call for more domestic activities. There is currently alot of strife and opinions about this issue among fans (especially so as TS Ent have not released any details regarding these concerns, making things worse).

      With your statement of “how is it supposed to be a Hallyu if no one promotes outside SK”, BAP have recently concluded their 2016 LOE World Tour as well as the Be. Act. Play Japan Tour in Jan 2017. The demand for domestic activities mainly stems from the concern that BAP has been suffering from falling domestic popularity after their post-lawsuit comeback.

      Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that mainstream Kpop news websites such as Soompi and Koreaboo have released articles about this issue but have mysteriously deleted them hours after releasing. Even better, TS Ent has remained silent and not addressed any of BABYs’ concerns, seemingly being busy taking down articles regarding this issue.

      • You consider that an insane schedule? I don’t consider that out of the ordinary at all–I’ve been doing a schedule page for Block B for 3-1/2 years now, and I would categorize that just as regular-busy.

        Wait–K-BABYs are getting three concerts in Seoul and they’re complaining? LOL! Well, I guess that explains why they don’t stan Block B….

        I’m not trying to harsh on you, but this is just loaded with a bunch of assumptions that I find pretty questionable:

        Assumption #1. BAP hasn’t been consulted about this tour. Yes, that happened before, AND THEN BAP TOOK THEIR LABEL TO COURT. If the label hasn’t learned better from that experience, then BAP should take them to court again, sooner rather than later. They’re not children–they can defend themselves, and they already have.

        Assumption #2. “But they WANT to stay in Korea!” They SAY they do–K-Pop groups always say stuff like that. Plus they don’t date, because they’re saving all their love for their fans. It’s fan service.

        Assumption #3. They should be more active in Korea to increase their popularity in Korea. Why? Korea is a small market–Japan and the United States are much bigger. Why should they work themselves to death in a market that’s not really paying off for them when there’s easy money to be made elsewhere? That’s what most musicians do–they’ll even relocate to where their music actually sells. The “We’re worried about their popularity in Korea” argument is made by K-fans about every group that is more popular abroad–it’s completely silly, and what it really means is “I want more fan signings near me.”

        You know, it could be that TS has shaped up their act, BAP is actually getting paid for the work they do, and like anyone with a revenue share in a business, the group is doing what will get them more money. And they’re not going to explain that logic to the fans, because it would involve shattering the Oppa-loves-you fantasy and revealing that Oppa is in this to make a living!

  2. I understand a bit of the worries of Babies here, but at the same time I see a few contradictions in their way of thinking.

    First and more important, BAP lost their trial, and not in a Block B way of “the court say we lost but we got what we want it, at least partially, so there was an agreement between the lines”. They lost it and have to come back to be slaves of their contract, and the company is treating them in the same way without worrying because fans are still giving the money to the company even if it was clear that there were mistreating them. So the risk of they still get slaved away is really high.

    This bring me to the second point, BAP renew of their contract is near and korean Babys say that they’re very very scare they would be dissolved by their company if there’re not famous enough. This is where all the contradictions begin. First, all the symptoms are that BAP is going to no renew by themselves and not the other way around (Youngguk is in his limit and I think is in some way boycotting the company with all this not attending because anxiety thing). Also BTS’s explosion show that the international fandom are not powerless because companies that are looking for a expansion overseas are afraid to made them angry or something like that, so, like you said, if you want them to be famous enough to not be dissolved, the big hallyu international fandom is the more easy way to achieve that.

    So I get why Baby’s are really worried here, because BAP’s end is quite imminent, but I think there not focusing properly (or only focusing in their own wishes) and I sincerely prefer they disbanding that still being mistreated. 😦

    • While I agree that TS isn’t really a label that I, personally, would trust, my understanding at the time was that BAP and TS never really went to trial, but that the two sides reached a voluntary settlement. I stopped paying attention after that, so maybe new information has come out in the meantime, but if they reached a settlement that satisfied BAP, then presumably the members’ contract was modified in some fashion to ensure better treatment and actual payments–it would be really odd if that’s not what happened. In any case, like you say, if they’re still unhappy they can (and should) walk when their contracts are up–and a big international fanbase would only be good for the members in their future careers.

  3. I see some comments from B.A.P fans and want to add my two cents to it because those statements are super one-sided.

    B.A.P did say at fansigns that they will spend 2017 in Korea yes, but they also said at almost every tour stop in 2016 that they would be back in 2017 and in a recent V-Live stream they said they would love to visit South Amerika soon, so those comments here are literally just taking the part that supports their personal gain and act as if the rest hasn’t happened or hasn’t been said.
    If B.A.P promised i-fans in 2016 that they would come back in 2017 then I want to assume that this tour was long planned and not without B.A.P’s knowledge and consent. They are also not saying that Daehyun asked fans for their support and that they are fine with the tour.
    They also forget to mention that B.A.P just came back from vacation unlike in 2014, where they had been working without a single break for 2,5 years. And they also regularly post pictures and videos of them going out having fun with friends. The situation is completely different.

    I’ve followed a few of those boycotter-comments and they mostly went like this:
    ‘It’s not that I’m jealous that B.A.P go oversea alot but B.A.P already spent their 5th anniversary in Japan and oh my gosh, the members are overseas on their birthdays too’. This is why I support the view that the actual concerns over B.A.P’s health is rather little compared to fan’s on feelings of jealousy.
    Fans also don’t believe that a cancellation of the tour would financially burden the members because they still believe that their fanchants will bring the food on B.A.P’s table. And if they really think that the cancellation of the tour would make TS send them on variety shows then that’s a little naive. IF the world tour wouldn’t have happened (the tickets for USA and Korea are already sold mostly) then TS would send them right to Japan or elsewhere to earn back the loss.

    B.A.P didn’t lose their court case, they reached an agreement with TS and despite TS not putting in a lot of effort to guarantee a growth in Korea, things have improved incredibly for the boys. They had a ton of variety appearances as well.

    Anyway, thank you for putting this article out here!

    • You’re welcome!

      Obviously people can argue about BAP’s true wants until the end of time. But trying to cut off a nice fat revenue stream–people need to think long and hard before signing on to something like that.

  4. Pingback: Revenue splits & corporate structures | My Other Blog

  5. Pingback: Boycotts and the impossibility of financial separation | My Other Blog

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