After not getting a Youngjae photocard from my purchase of Got7’s latest mini album, I decided to go back and buy Youngjae’s mini album. I bought both versions, with the only difference being the photobook and random photocards.
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.
Come unbox with me!
On January 19th, 2021, I got the news that my favorite kpop group, Got7, had officially departed from their label, JYP Entertainment.
I meant to write about it because it was a huge thing, but I either couldn’t find the time or simply didn’t know what to say. This wasn’t a disbandment, this wasn’t a member or two not renewing their contract… the entire group just decided to part ways with their label.
As far as I know, nothing like this has happened in kpop. You’ve had groups that have sued for their contracts to be nullified before renegotiating their rights to a new company (Block B), and you’ve had groups where individual members have departed (there are too many of those to list here), and sued and departed (there are also too many of those to list here), and you’ve had one group launch their own label and rename themselves (Highlight, formerly Beast) but to have an entire group just… pop off was something new.
Got7 turned around and dropped a new single on us shortly after the news, appropriately titled, “Encore.”
Now, I won’t be one of those wide-eyed, naive kpop fans. I know that the likelihood of me going to a Got7 concert with all members present is now a pipe dream. With each member being picked up by different agencies, we get to see the members blossom into their own while remaining part of the group–a group that transcends record labels, a group of 7 ridiculously talented, good-looking, and altogether weird guys. Unlike a lot of kpop groups, these guys seem like they’ve created a family.
And from what we’ve seen of the guys in 2021, I think they’ll do just fine on their own.
Everything about you was a gift
Right now too, all of you
We will sing for you
We will sing for you