K-pop's ever-growing international fanbase freaked out royally when videos of popular Cube Entertainment artists 4minute, HyunA, B2ST, and G.Na were suddenly blocked for YouTube users attempting to access the clips outside of South Korea. The incident occurred on Sunday morning (March 24), and the backlash was both swift and massive.
Netizens figured out that Universal Music Group was to blame — Cube is one of the very few K-pop creators that uses a U.S.-based distributor — and for reasons unclear decided the music company was motivated by racism, or some other desire "to keep kpop restricted to Koreans like it originally was," as a widely spread Asian Fanfics post explained.
As Billboard reports, the terms "#giveuskpop" and "#UMG" began trending worldwide on Twitter, fans flooded the Universal Music Facebook page with angry comments and desperate pleas, and a "One Does Not Simply Block K-pop Internationally" photo meme even made its way through the Tumblr community. Within hours, UMG responded to the furor.
"Glitch at YouTube blocking videos. We're doing all we can to get them back online. #GiveUsKPop," Universal wrote on Facebook, noticeably co-opting the fans' rallying cry. The prevailing theory was then adapted. According to the Daily Dot, suspicion emerged that UMG was attempting to drive viewers to their VEVO channels instead of the standard YouTube ones.
In another widely reblogged post, one user reported that 4minute's "Volume Up" was blocked on YouTube, but played just fine through the artist's VEVO account. Now, in the U.S. at least, the opposite seems to be true, but the original YouTube accounts play host to the videos that have already been shared millions of times, and access to those has definitely been restored.
Which means you can, once again, watch 2YOON's "24/7" until your spurs fall off: