Fans of BTS member V, have accused HYBE of ‘sabotage’ in relation to the recent fiasco surrounding sales of his debut solo album Layover. They took to social media to voice their displeasure, causing the term “HYBE CORRUPT” to trend on X (formerly Twitter). The issue stemmed from the album’s fluctuating sales figures following its release on Sept 8, 2023.
The Hanteo Chart, which provides an overview of K-pop album sales, initially reported first-day sales of 2.2 million for Layover. Hanteo later released a correction, deducting over 500,000 units from the sale volume due to “overcounting”.
Even with the correction, BTS’ V, also known as Kim Taehyung, recorded the highest first day sales by a solo artist. However, fans were angered by the sales revision, which they viewed as a stain on his record.
Poor preparations by HYBE?
It was later revealed that the “overcounting” was the result of low inventory. Sales were dropped from the final count as vendors were unable to fulfill the order until new stocks arrived. Fans then accused HYBE of not sufficiently preparing for the launch of the highly-anticipated Layover.
Fan interest in the album had been high, as V is the final member of BTS to produce a solo release. V himself had hyped up Layover by saying fans would hear him express his identity as ‘Kim Taehyung’. Despite this, fans believed that HYBE had underestimated V’s popularity.
Many questioned why HYBE did not print enough copies of the album, despite opening pre-orders one month prior to the launch. Album shipments to fans worldwide were also allegedly delayed due to the “low inventory”. The reaction to this has ranged from anger over the delays, to outright accusing HYBE of inflicting ‘sabotage’ upon V.
Geffen Records also accused
Fans in the US are also taking issue with Geffen Records, which is partnered with HYBE to market the album there. They pointed out the lack of marketing for Layover when compared to albums by other Geffen artists. In particular, singer Olivia Rodrigo’s album GUTS, which released the same day as Layover, appeared to be more favored.
One fan shared an image taken in a store owned by retailer Target, showing a display for Rodrigo’s GUTS. They claimed that copies of Layover were kept “in the back”. They also pointed out that Rodrigo’s album came with ‘Target-exclusive merch’. This led to accusations that HYBE was not doing enough to protect V, and ensuring that his album had a fair chance.
Several fans have also begun making suggestions for how HYBE can remedy the situation. This includes dropping the price for V’s next single, the piano version of Slow Dancing.
At the time of writing, there has been no response from HYBE regarding the situation. V himself appears to be focused on promoting Layover, with the official BTS X account sharing a post ahead of his Inkigayo performance.