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BTS’ Record Label HYBE Accused Of Using AI Art In Video For New K-pop Group

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HYBE, a K-pop record label known for its biggest artist BTS, is being accused by fans of using generative AI in a teaser trailer for the company’s upcoming girl group.

HYBE dropped its first teaser video for five-member K-pop girl group ILLIT on March 16. Titled “Super Real Me”, the video is a medley of ILLIT’s as yet unreleased songs, and is intended to showcase the group’s sound and creative direction, and build some hype.

The video has been viewed more than 2.6 million times, a healthy level of mainstream attention ahead of the group’s March 25 debut.

As the video went viral in the K-pop community, some eagle-eyed fans on Reddit circled out suspicious parts in certain scenes, speculating that generative AI might have been used to create the trailer.

Did HYBE use AI?

For example, an illustration of a mug in the video is incomplete. Colours are smudged and finishing outlines not filled in.


Next, the following background depicting traffic lights and power cables contains a flaw: the number of cable lines is inconsistent, and some cables vanish.


Third, a drawing of a doorknob is depicted incorrectly, with the handles also incomplete.


“As an artist, this took me, like, almost instantaneous to recognise these are AI art,” wrote an anonymous K-pop fan on Reddit.

Generative AI in K-pop

Mooncube, a South Korean artist based in Paris, is credited as the video’s producer. The artist’s portfolio consists of illustrations for luxury brands including Dior, Giorgio Armani and Swarovski. This high-profile CV has made some fans cast doubt on whether AI was used.

Yet fans who started digging into Mooncube’s Instagram profile found that the artist followed several accounts that shared AI-generated content.

HYBE and Mooncube haven’t responded to online criticism. However, in the past year, HYBE has been openly experimenting with artificial intelligence in its creative ventures.

In June 2023 HYBE debuted what it marketed as an “AI-powered artist”, which is able to sing in Korean and five other languages, thanks to what the company described as AI “multilingual pronunciation correction technology”.

In early March HYBE delivered its fourth-quarter financial results to investors using an AI-generated voice clone of the company’s CEO Jiwon Park.

Image: ILLIT, ‘SUPER REAL ME’ highlight medley by HYBE Labels via YouTube