BTS fans, ARMY, are outraged with the government of Busan, South Korea, for insisting that BTS’ label HYBE pay for a free BTS concert in the city.
The BTS concert is part of the city of Busan’s efforts to host the World Expo in 2030. The K-pop superstars were appointed as ambassadors for Busan’s expo campaign just a month ago.
On Wednesday, news outlets revealed that the Busan Metropolitan Government and the Expo committee do not have the funds and do not plan to pay for the concert. Instead, they insist that BTS’ label HYBE cover the concert costs, which are estimated to be about 7 billion won (approximately $5.1 million), through sponsors. HYBE estimates the concert will cost more than that but has agreed to cover the advertising costs for the concert; however, they are hesitant to pay for the show in its entirety.
K-pop netizens were swift with their reactions criticizing Busan and the Expo committee for their request.
“Think of the concert like a baby right. A baby that busan begged for. HYBE has been doing all this work baby proofing and Busan hasn’t really done anything,” one Twitter user wrote. “HYBE is like ‘damn can you pay for something at least?’ And Busan said, ‘it’s your baby.’”
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“The Busan government invited them to be ambassadors, asked them to perform for free, and now cannot even pay for concert requirements and wants BTS (via HYBE) to pay for the concert. WTF,” wrote another user.
“All of this Busan stuff is crazy. The city says they want the Expo, but they keep passing off the responsibility (and cost) of the concert onto BTS,” another user wrote. “Infrastructure problems, lack of funds, price gouging. The city is continually making themselves look incapable of hosting.”
This latest development adds to an already messy organization around the event. Last week, HYBE announced that the venue for the concert had changed to Busan Asiad Main Stadium following backlash and safety concerns of the initial concert venue: a former glass factory site. In related news, last month, Busan’s mayor Park Heong-joon proposed as an alternative to their mandatory military enlistment that BTS become public relations ambassadors for Busan to help with the city’s Expo bid efforts.