The Dark Side of K-pop Album Sales: Jungkook’s “Golden” and SEVENTEEN’s Albums Found Discarded

The Dark Side of K-pop Album Sales: The K-pop industry, known for its global impact and devoted fanbase, is facing a disturbing trend that has left many fans and artists disheartened. The recent discoveries of BTS Jungkook’s solo album “Golden” and SEVENTEEN’s album “17 IS RIGHT HERE” discarded in restrooms and strewn across streets have sparked outrage among fans and critics alike. This phenomenon, largely driven by the practice of releasing multiple album versions and luring fans with collectible photocards, highlights a significant issue within the industry: the exploitation of fan loyalty and the resulting environmental and emotional waste.

The Disheartening Discovery of “Golden”

Jungkook’s highly anticipated solo album, “Golden,” was expected to be a monumental release, reflecting the BTS member’s personal artistry and musical growth. However, just days after its release, photos of the album discarded in restrooms, near trash cans, and on streets began circulating on social media platforms, including the popular platform The Quoo. Fans, who had eagerly awaited and struggled to obtain the album, were left heartbroken by the sight of it being treated so disrespectfully.

One fan expressed their disappointment online, writing, “This is not it, Our precious Jungkook’s albums, were all thrown out in the restroom.” Another lamented, “No..not Jungkook’s please this is so very much painful to see.” These sentiments were echoed by many others who decried the act of buying albums solely for the included photocards, only to discard the albums themselves.

The SEVENTEEN Incident

The issue is not isolated to Jungkook’s “Golden.” Just days prior, SEVENTEEN’s latest album, “17 IS RIGHT HERE,” faced a similar fate in Japan. Photos surfaced showing the album discarded on the streets with signs stating, “Feel free to take any you want.” This incident, combined with the mass discard of Jungkook’s album, has highlighted a troubling pattern within the K-pop industry.

SEVENTEEN’s album had set a remarkable sales record, selling 2,260,906 copies on its debut day according to the Hanteo Chart. This achievement, however, was overshadowed by the subsequent discarding of the albums. The primary motivation behind these large purchases appears to be the collectible photocards and codes included with the albums, which fans often trade or sell.

The Role of Photocards and Album Sales

Photocards have become a significant driver of album sales in the K-pop industry. These collectible items, often featuring individual members of the group, are highly sought after by fans. Companies have capitalized on this demand by releasing multiple versions of albums, each with different photocards, encouraging fans to purchase several copies in the hopes of completing their collection.

While this strategy boosts initial sales figures, it also leads to significant waste. Once fans obtain the desired photocards, the albums themselves are often discarded. Photos shared online showed that many of the discarded albums were missing their plastic packaging, indicating that the photocards had already been removed.

Environmental and Emotional Impact

The environmental impact of this trend is alarming. According to a source, there has been a staggering 14-fold increase in K-pop album waste over the past six years. The top contributors to this waste include major entertainment companies like HYBE Labels, JYP Entertainment, and Kakao Entertainment. The production and subsequent discarding of millions of physical albums contribute to significant environmental harm, including increased plastic waste and carbon emissions.

Emotionally, the sight of these discarded albums is painful for both fans and artists. Fans invest not only money but also emotional energy into supporting their favorite artists. Seeing the fruits of their labor and the artists’ hard work treated so carelessly feels like a betrayal. Artists, who pour their hearts into creating music and connecting with their fans, are equally affected by the disrespect shown to their work.

The Response from Fans and Industry

In response to these incidents, fans have taken to social media to express their frustration and call for change. Many are urging fellow fans to stop purchasing albums solely for the photocards and to respect the artists’ work. One fan commented, “Guys if you are buying just for photocards then better stop disrespecting the artist’s work, this makes me crazy mad, like are you guys even fans?”

Some fans have also called for the industry to change its approach to album sales. Suggestions include offering photocards and other collectibles separately from the albums, reducing the number of album versions, and promoting digital sales to decrease physical waste.

Industry Practices and Possible Solutions

The practice of releasing multiple album versions and including collectible items is not new in the K-pop industry. However, the scale at which it is currently being done has led to significant issues. To address these problems, the industry needs to consider more sustainable practices.

One potential solution is to offer photocards and other collectibles as separate merchandise. This would allow fans to purchase the items they desire without contributing to unnecessary album waste. Another approach is to limit the number of album versions released and ensure that each version offers unique and valuable content beyond just the photocards.

Digital sales and streaming should also be promoted as viable alternatives to physical album purchases. Many fans already support their favorite artists through streaming platforms, and this method is more environmentally friendly. Companies could offer exclusive digital content or experiences as incentives for digital purchases, reducing the reliance on physical albums.


The incidents involving Jungkook’s “Golden” and SEVENTEEN’s “17 IS RIGHT HERE” albums being discarded highlight a significant issue within the K-pop industry. The practice of releasing multiple album versions with collectible photocards has led to increased waste and disrespect towards the artists’ work. Fans and industry professionals alike must come together to address these problems and find more sustainable and respectful ways to support the artists they love.

By adopting more sustainable practices, the K-pop industry can continue to thrive while reducing its environmental impact and preserving the emotional connection between artists and fans. The recent outcry from fans is a call to action, urging the industry to evolve and ensure that the hard work of artists like Jungkook and SEVENTEEN is honored and appreciated.

Gaurav Manral

I am from nainital, Uttrakhand, India and like to write different type of entertainment news like bollywood, Hollywood, South Indian movies, Life Style etc.