Kpop platform albums are primarily a new and more sustainable way to do fansign events, and are sold in limited periods. A platform album is a digital album with physical photocard inclusions, so instead of getting sent a ton of heavy albums, you will be sent only photocards with a code which you can access your digital album.
I believe the group VICTON is the first to do platform albums during their promotion Chronograph. VICTON’s company IST Ent. have since released platform albums for Apink & Weeekly.
As the main point of a platform album is to create a more sustainable way to do fansigns, platform albums are only sold during the artist’s promotion and get out-of-sale when they are finished promoting the release.
Platform albums will not be a replacement for the physical album.
The idea of a platform album is to stop material waste and decrease the carbon footprint (production and transportation).
The fans that are especially trying to get into video call fansigns are buying tens of albums that most of the time are needed to be transported across the globe, which release a ton of carbon (fuel). A good percentage are doing Group Orders where every album purchased gets to an unique home, but there are some that do group orders and don’t get enough joiners or simply don’t want to hold a group orders that buy multiple albums to get into the fansign. These albums usually end up as material waste for various reasons.
It’s here that the platform album comes in, to be a sustainable alternative. It’s lighter to transport a small package of a few photocards than a huge box of albums, which not only decreases the carbon footprint of the package, but also makes it cheaper. With the platform album there will be less, almost no material waste.
The price point for the platform album is a little less than the physical album, but overall it’s a lot cheaper when including shipping.
Will more companies follow?
As of writing this I believe there are only artists under IST Ent. who has released a platform album, but I definitely think more companies will follow in the same direction, either by themself or from a strong push by the fans for sustainability.
I think this is an opportunity for smaller companies who in the past have released digital singles/albums because they can’t afford to produce a physical album or don’t want to take the risk to instead release a platform album. It also creates a better bond with the supporting fans, who are willing to give their money to artists they adore.