Back on November 12, 2020, Big Hit Labels announced their first-ever online and offline joint concert – the 2021 New Year’s Eve Live. The concert would feature artists from all its subsidiary labels, including Pledis Entertainment, Source Music, and BE:LIFT Lab. The venue was announced to be KINTEX Exhibition Centre 1, and the tickets priced at 154,000 KRW ($138 USD) up to 275,000 KRW ($246 USD) depending on the package that is selected.
Some fans were immediately repulsed at the high prices, pointing out that the label seemed to be taking advantage of the dearth of offline concerts/events and the consequent high demand. Besides the pricing, the seating would also be randomly assigned. Korean Netizens have also mentioned that the venue is definitely not fit for a concert due to it being an exhibition center. The view from a majority of the seats is poor.
On December 7, BigHit announced that the offline portion of their concert has officially been canceled in order to ensure the safety of artists as well as fans in light of the severity of COVID-19 infections in Seoul. As such, the prices of the online tickets have been revealed to range from 39,500 KRW or $37.99 to 59,500 KRW or $57.23. The online concert will still feature the original line-up of artists: Lee Hyun, BUMZU, NU’EST, BTS, GFRIEND, TXT, ENHYPEN besides a special Connect Stage with Shin Hae Chul and newly announced special guests Halsey, Lauv and Steve Aoki!
While netizens’ disappointment regarding the pricing was understandable on the one hand, the logic behind the pricing was also considerably fair. The concert is no usual concert and will feature a host of artists, which means the income from the concert will also be divided among the artists. The tickets for BTS’s online concert alone, earlier this year, Map of the Soul ON:E, was priced at 49,500 KRW or $45 to 101,000 KRW or $93 approximately. In comparison, the prices of the online tickets for the New Year’s Eve Live concert have been marginally reduced despite the fact that the latter will undoubtedly be of a larger scale.
With the offline concert now canceled, a majority of the crew is still going to have to do their job while their income is going to be reduced to a large extent in order to accommodate the loss. Since the online concert was never meant to be an alternative to the offline one and was always part of the program, the cancelation of the offline concert is a huge blow to the potential income that all the people involved in the concert stand to make. This includes all the artists as well as the crew. Keeping this in mind, along with the fact that BigHit would have to undertake extreme sanitization policies in order to make sure that the artists are well protected, the pricing of the online tickets is actually quite low. If they were to go through with the offline concert, their income potential would increase, but so would their costs incurred. In order for the concert to financially benefit all the participating artists fairly and equally, it would be necessary for the tickets to be priced slightly higher. There are way too many K-Pop horror stories of groups being mistreated and paid unfairly despite their efforts, and that is definitely not something a true fan would want for their favorite artists or any artist for that matter. As such, even though the pricing might have looked unbelievably expensive at first glance, it was definitely curated carefully.