There are several kinds of Kpop fans (also known as “stans”). There’s the “I only like This Group” stans. The “I Only Like This Member in This Group” stans. The Only-Boy-Groups stan. The Only-Girl-Groups stan. The Music-Only stan. The I-Collect-Everything stan. The I-Spend-Thousands-of-Dollars-on-Albums-to-Get-Photocards-Which-I-Then-Trade-or-Sell-For-a-Profit stans. The same kind of stan, but their reason for buying so many albums is to get tickets for meet-and-greets, which usually work in a lottery system. There’s the Broke stan, and there’s the kind of stan that I am: mostly Broke, but still supportive when I can be.
The first Kpop album I bought, after years of listening to the genre, was Kim Jonghyun’s posthumous album “Poet | Artist.” All proceeds went to Jonghyun’s mother, which she used to create the Shiny Foundation.
The second album I bought was Got7’s “Present: You,” bought on ebay so I could get Youngjae’s version. Multiple versions of Kpop albums are released, each with different photocards or different photo booklets, meaning that a group with 7 members could have 7 (or 8!) different versions for the purchasing.
Like I mentioned before, some Koreans and Korean expats make money by purchasing Kpop albums in bulk and selling the photocards. Or they buy in bulk to hopefully score meet-and-greet tickets and the photocard re-sale is just a perk.
The unfortunate thing is that once the photocards have been taken out of the album, the value has decreased, so then the person needs to get rid of hundreds of open albums. There have been several posts on various expat groups of people trying to get rid of hundreds of albums for free because they have nowhere to store them and can’t sell them.
From a capitalistic view, it’s the perfect shakedown of a predominantly young demographic–buy ten random albums, get ten random photocards and a chance to meet your idols! I mean, if the Backstreet Boys had photocards and different photobooks for the members, you can believe I would have begged my mom to buy me all five versions. Without knowing on the package what version you’d get, you’d have to buy more than five, and probably have to trade versions with your friends in order to get the complete set. That is a lot of money for the record label.
I decided to buy Got7’s latest mini album to support the boys on their new venture and see what my luck would give me.