Asia News: BTS, YG, Olympics

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 Ticketing Troubles Continue
The Yonhap news service reports that the problem of stricter ID checks resulting in denial of entry to fans, which occurred at the triumphant homecoming concert of top K-pop group BTS in the South Korean city of Busan on June 15 and 16, followed the group when it played in the country’s capital, Seoul, the following weekend. 
Thanks to a system that cracks down on online scalping and reselling, ticketholders had to bring specific forms of ID with names that matched those on the tickets, and in some cases they were denied entry because their parents bought the tickets for them or the form of ID they produced was not approved. 
The problems in Busan were publicized before the Seoul concerts took place, so fewer tickets were refused in the second city, but still enough to make it newsworthy. One Japanese woman interviewed by Yonhap said in tears that she had gotten married since buying her ticket and therefore the name on her ID was not the same as the one on the ticket. “I cannot pick up my ticket because I don’t have the document to prove [the name change,]” she said, in an obvious state of shock. 
Fans demanded explanations from BTS’s management, Big Hit Entertainment, that was not forthcoming, thus leading to the creation of a hashtag that translated as “explain the 5th fan meeting,” the 5th fan meeting being the official name of the concerts. 
The only response that Big Hit had made at publication time was to reaffirm that “anyone who holds tickets that are transferred from other people or tickets whose buyers’ names cannot be matched with those of the holders will not be admitted under any circumstances.”
Despite the crackdown, there were reports that some of the tickets, originally priced at 99,000 won ($85.50), were going for more than a million won on resale sites. 
Nevertheless, an official at a different talent management company told Yonhap, “Not all concert organizers apply the verification process so strictly, so the thorough process by Big Hit might have been rather tough. I think it may have aroused concertgoers’ attention to black market tickets.”

Psy Questioned In YG Investigation 
The Seoul Metropolitan Police’s investigation into wrongdoing by YG Entertainment, one of the biggest K-pop talent agencies in South Korea, continues after two top executives resigned in the wake of several agency artists being accused of illicit drug use. 
The Korea Herald recently reported police were questioning the singer-rapper Psy, who some years ago had a worldwide hit with the song “Gangnam Style,” about suspicions that Yang Hyun-suk, the founder and former chief producer of YG, procured prostitutes for foreign investors.
The singer was reportedly questioned for nine hours June 16-17. At the end of May, Psy had posted a message on Instagram saying that he had been “present at the meeting in question in July 2014,” but denied that he had anything to do with procuring prostitutes, adding that he and Yang had left the meeting early. 
Yang has not been arrested for any crime.
Olympic Demand High In Japan
Demand for the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo is apparently very fierce, unlike the last two Olympic Games. 
Many tickets for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio had to be given away and empty seats filled with volunteers, but it seems that won’t be the case for Tokyo.
Residents of Japan were allowed first dibs on seats and were required to register their names and addresses beforehand and then specify which events they wanted to attend. Tickets would be assigned by lottery. According to local media, most applicants were sorely disappointed, with many coming up completely empty-handed.
Local interest in the Games is extremely high, and foreign interest may be just as keen, given Tokyo’s reputation for safety and hospitality. 
An official of one Los Angeles-based ticket vendor told the Associated Press, “This is probably going to be the most popular Olympics, and possibly one of the most popular events of all time.” He estimated that 80 to 90 percent of Japanese residents who applied for tickets got nothing. 
So far organizers have not released numbers indicating the portion of applicants who got tickets. They plan to hold a second phase of ticketing for Japan residents, and likely the results will be the same. 
Japanese media were filled with stories about disappointed applicants who had to put up with a very slow website process to find if they had gotten tickets. More than a million people were trying to access the site all day. A rough survey by AP found that one ticket was awarded for every 15 application attempts. In the end, they were informed of their fate by email.
According to earlier reports, about 7.5 million people registered to apply for tickets, which, based on results from the 2012 London Olympics, probably means that the organizers received between 75 and 85 million individual ticket requests. That’s 10 times more than the total number of tickets that were available for the first round.
There will be 7.8 million tickets for all the events in Tokyo, but 20 to 30 percent will be reserved for distribution outside of Japan, where buyers will likely face the same sort of problem, and thus will probably pay more, since resellers are allowed to add a 20 percent handling fee. The most expensive ticket is $2,700 for the opening ceremony. 
Nevertheless, there could still be empty seats, since a large portion of tickets go to officials, corporate sponsors and local dignitaries, many of whom don’t show up. In addition, all athletes can get two free tickets for each event session they participate in, except for swimming. 
Of course, scalping is expected to be a problem despite a new Japanese law that cracks down on online resale. The law does not apply to tickets that are given away or which don’t have the buyer’s name printed on their face, which includes tickets supplied by the international and local organizers and by sponsors.