Fair Trade Commission Conducts On-Site Inspections at SM, JYP, and YG Over Allegations of ‘Idol Photocard Flipping’
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has launched on-site inspections into the inclusion of ‘idol photocard’ in albums by major entertainment agencies, suspecting ‘flipping’ practices.
This move comes in response to the growing criticism that excessively producing various types of photocard manipulates idol fans’ emotions and encourages speculative resale.
On the 2nd, according to industry sources, the FTC conducted an on-site inspection at YG Entertainment.
Last month on the 31st, they began an on-site inspection of SM Entertainment, and on the 1st of this month, they carried out a similar inspection at JYP Entertainment.
This action was taken as consumer complaints about the excessive commercialization of photocard by major entertainment agencies have been increasing.
Recently, the photocard market has seen an avalanche of nearly 50 different versions for popular idol group NCT. These photocard sets are sold in random packages, which means fans have to purchase multiple albums to find the photocard they desire. This has sparked public outcry due to the costly nature of albums, typically priced between 15,000 to 40,000 won (approximately $12 to $33).
Photocards are small cards the size of business cards, containing pictures of idol group members. They are often produced as ‘selfies’ of celebrities that are not available online, and some even include handwritten signatures.
Fans sometimes go to extreme lengths, known as ‘album ggang’ (buying many albums), to obtain their desired member’s photocard. They may also resell photocards on platforms like Twitter and Coupang to make a profit. Photocard prices can vary significantly, with rare cards reaching high market values.
Among hardcore fans, buying dozens to hundreds of albums to acquire the desired photocard is considered a common practice.
In addition to this investigation, the Fair Trade Commission has been closely examining entertainment agencies in recent times. Earlier, in the beginning of last month, they launched an on-site inspection into Hive, SM, YG, and other major agencies to look into subcontracting violations regarding album and merchandise production.
Another issue under scrutiny by the FTC is unfair contracts between agencies and their artists.