Asia: YG Head Steps Down, BTS Tickets, Chainsmokers Cancel

YG Founder Steps Down
Yang Hyun-suk, the founder of YG Entertainment Inc., one of South Korea’s biggest artist management companies, announced his resignation on June 14, giving up all his executive positions in the organization. Yang said he was taking responsibility amid allegations that several YG charges had used illicit drugs while working for the company. At the same time, his brother, Yang Min-suk, YG’s CEO, also resigned. 
YG has been engulfed in scandal ever since one of its biggest artists, K-pop singer Seungri, was investigated by police for sex crimes and drug abuse associated with a nightclub in Seoul’s trendy Gangnam district. In addition, the company cancelled the contract of a member of the top boy band Ikon after South Korean media alleged that he has been using drugs. Neither of the Yangs have been accused of drug use or sex crimes themselves. However, the company is facing allegations of tax evasion, mediating prostitution for investors and tampering with a witness to cover up a crime. 
In a statement, Yang Hyun-suk said, “I have patiently endured this situation in which shameful and humiliating words are being indiscreetly spoken as if they are the truth. But I don’t think I can stand it any more.” He added that he hoped there would be no more problems for the artists of YG Entertainment.
Bloomberg reports that the scandals have “dragged the company’s shares down 38 percent this year.” On June 14 alone, the stock dropped 5.6 percent before the resignation announcement. 

Greg Allen /
BTS teams up with Good Morning America to kick off the 2019 Summer Concert Series in Central Park in New York City, N.Y. on May 15.

BTS Ticket Trouble

BTS, K-pop’s biggest act at the moment, if not the world’s, held its first-ever fan event and concerts in Busan, South Korea’s second biggest city, on June 15 and 16. Not surprisingly, the shows were sold out. However, there were problems with ticket security, according to the Yonhap news agency.
Big Hit Entertainmant, BTS’s management agency, had demanded that ticket buyer information be included on the tickets so that they could be matched with the ticketholder’s ID when entering the venue. Unfortunately, a number of younger fans had bought their tickets using their parents’ names and credit cards, and they were barred entry at the door. At the same time many students who had bought tickets were also barred because the only ID they could produce were student cards, which are not acceptabe. 
Big Hit said that these matters had been publicized on the ticket purchase sites and the fan club website. Despite protests, the same thing happened the second day of the concert run.
Insiders told Yonhap that this is the reality of high-profile concerts in South Korea from now on, and that fans would just have to put up with it. Competition for tickets is fiercer than ever, and has even led to its own peculiar term—”piketing”—a portmanteau of the word “ticket” and the Korean word for “bloody.”
And yet illegal online ticket scalping is still rampant. Brokers buy tickets in bulk using “macro programs” and then sell them via social media and online communities at high markups. Yonhap reports that the final concert of the group Wanna One in Seoul last January cost 100,000 won ($84) but were going for 1 million won on the black market. 
With regard to the Busan problem, an anonymous music insider told Yonhap, “Parents who bought tickets for their children might feel it was unfair. But the agency has already noticed it, and there’s no exception. This time, Big Hit’s handling will probably arouse awareness of ticket scalping.”
An Olympic Anti-Scalping Effort
Speaking of scalping, a new Japanese law that tightens the screws on ticket scalping ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics went into force on June 14. The new national law, which was passed in December, prohibits the resale of tickets at prices higher than that for which they were originally sold. The prohibition incudes online resale. Violator can be jailed for up to one year and fined up to 1 million yen ($9,240).
The ban covers tickets with designated seats or the names of the ticketholder. It also covers tickets with QR codes and IC cards that serve as electronic tickets. According to Kyodo news agency, the law also “requires” event promoters to “make efforts” to identify ticket holders. The law does not cover invitation tickets or those otherwise distributed for free. In addition, ticket holders who cannot for any reason attend the event may resell the ticket on special websites approved by promoters and event organizers. 
Street scalping is already illegal in Japan but is subject to local ordinances, not nationwide proscription. 
Earlier this month, the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors Office announced that on May 27 it had raided the offices of Melon, South Korea’s biggest music streaming company, on suspicion of “diverting some 5 billion won ($4.23 million) that should have gone to copyright holders between 2009 and 2011,” according to the Yonhap news agency. The money was diverted through a “paper company” allegedly set up for the purpose. At the time, Melon was a subsidiary of SK Telecom, one of South Korea’s main telecommunications corporations.
Fifty-four percent of the streaming profits at the time went to music copyright holders, with the rest going to Melon. However, the service allegedly registered a “phantom music label” called LS Music to “siphon off about 10 to 20 percent” from the copyright holders’ portion. 
Prosecutors say they are now investigating whether copyright fees were also diverted after 2011 when Melon was acquired by a company called Kakao.
Chainsmokers Cancel Two
The Chainsmokers have cancelled two of the upcoming Asian stops on their World War Joy tour. On June 18, MMI Live announced that the EDM duo had pulled out of their August 15 show at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila “due to unforeseen production circumstances,” according to Some hours later, their August 21 Singapore concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium was cancelled via an announcement by Live Nation Singapore. As of June 19, there has been no word regarding the rest of the dates on the Asia leg of the tour, which include stops in Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan, where they are scheduled to headline the Summer Sonic festival in Osaka on August 17 and in Tokyo August 18.