HYBE Under Fire As BTS K-Drama “Begins ≠ Youth” Costs Over $90 To Watch

HYBE Under Fire As BTS K-Drama “Begins ≠ Youth” Costs Over $90 To Watch

The long-anticipated BTS-inspired K-Drama Begins ≠ Youth is soon here, but many ARMYs aren’t watching.


At a press conference years ago, HYBE founder Bang Si Hyuk shared the agency’s plans for a Korean drama inspired by BTS‘s fictional universe. The K-Drama, originally titled YOUTH, was initially slated to air in 2020. Later, it was moved to November 2023.

We are working with a famous Korean drama production company to produce a drama where the theme is based off of BTS’s outlook of the world, and the drama is expected to be revealed in the second half of 2020.

— Bang Si Hyuk

Cast | MyDramaList

The K-Drama is based on the BTS Universe, originating from The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Series, Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa Series, or HYYH Series era with the group’s music videos. This time-traveling friendship story later expanded into other media, including the BTS Universe Story game, Save Me Webtoon, HYYH Notes, and now K-Drama Begins ≠ Youth (also known as Begins Youth, Youth, or Blue Sky). 

The drama follows the lives of seven boys navigating their school years and personal growth, each grappling with family obligations, loss, poverty, abandonment, violence, and rejection. After an unwanted return to Songju-si, Kim Hwan meets six boys. As an outsider and the son of Kim Chang Jun, the boys sometimes find him suspicious and misunderstand his actions, leading to conflicts. Despite these initial difficulties, they eventually become friends. It seemed awkward at first, but over time, they grow closer and open their hearts. They travel and play together, sharing their problems to help each other heal. Realizing they all have similar family issues, they become even closer. Hwan confronts his own feelings by staying with the other boys. As he spends time with them, he starts to like Songju-si and genuinely wishes for these days to continue forever. However, Chang Jun notices the other boys and considers them useless, insisting that Hwan stay away from them. Hwan, who has always lived an obedient life, raises his voice for the first time and confronts his emotions.

— MyDramaList

| Webtoon

A full-length trailer for Begins Youth recently resurfaced online after the new year, although it originally dropped late in 2023. It provides an introduction to each character and their story. The trailer went viral due to ARMYs’ anticipation.


At the time, an official release date has not yet been revealed. Still, ARMYs were expecting it to air in 2024 finally.



— bts lover ⁷ (@itsbtszone) February 1, 2024

Waiting for BTS to drop Begins Youth pic.twitter.com/6e3dDauMSH

— ‏ؘ (@tinyangeljoonie) February 1, 2024

Now, the release dates for Begins ≠ Youth have dropped. Episodes 1-4 will be available on April 30, 5-8 on May 7, and 9-12 on May 14.

However, despite the longtime anticipation, many ARMYs are no longer planning to watch. Begins ≠ Youth will premiere via the Xclusive platform, not a streaming service like Disney+, Netflix, or Prime Video. It will be the first drama launched on the Xclusive platform.

Since it’s not your average streaming platform, there is no monthly subscription to watch numerous titles. Instead, each release of episodes is available for purchase. Even with its current discount available, it is over $30 USD per package. So, watching all of the episodes would cost over $90 USD. That’s not all, though. There is a purchasing period that will come to an end. After that, you must purchase or rent from another person who previously bought it.

This is a collaboration between CRB Media and HYBE utilizing Web 3.0 technology, utilizing blockchain. Xclusive claims to be a “blockchain-based platform that aims to innovate the content distribution process with fandom.” This makes it that Begins ≠ Youth is an “NFT K-Drama.”

The Most Beautiful Moment in #web3 has arrived!

Collaborating with @fingerlabs_io, Mantle proudly introduces “Begins≠Youth” inspired by K-pop sensation BTS’ “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life”, a captivating series of K-drama NFTs distributed exclusively via Xclusive and… pic.twitter.com/Oqg0Zn8erj

— Mantle (@0xMantle) April 2, 2024

Netizens were shocked to realize that Begins ≠ Youth has become what appears to be an NFT and Multilevel marketing (MLM) scheme. ARMYs are disappointed in HYBE’s decision to release the K-Drama through a blockchain platform.

Multilevel marketing (MLM) refers to a strategy used by some direct sales companies to sell products and services. MLM encourages existing members to promote and sell their offerings to other individuals and bring new recruits into the business.

— Investopedia

HYBE TRULY WTF?!?! Now you are doing some hybrid NFTxMLM pyramid scheme for the BTS kdrama?!?! I swear every time I think you can’t possibly sink any lower in your money grabbing bullshit. This is infuriating and so so absurd. pic.twitter.com/XZ02IOQjDx

— Luna⁷ʟᴏ(ꪜ)ᴇ 사람 사랑 (@mintblueskye) April 2, 2024

are these prices in USD??? they must be out of their mind if they think people are gonna spend $90 to watch this show #beginsyouth pic.twitter.com/1fYWNgClDs

— dramakakes (@DramaKakes) April 2, 2024

Many are saying they will not watch Begins ≠ Youth. Instead, they will rewatch old BTS content or watch Begins ≠ Youth in clips on social media.

Recently, ARMYs were relieved when BTS and LINE FRIENDS’ BT21 clarified that it was not doing NFTs. The fandom has long been against NFTs since HYBE announced years ago a partnership with blockchain technology firm Dunamu to launch Momentica, an NFT platform where fans could purchase digital collectibles featuring some of HYBE’s popular artists. Later, BTS leader RM reportedly made a presentation against NFTs, and there has been little talk since regarding the partnership. Yet, while he is serving in the military, the BTS K-Drama is released via a blockchain platform.


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