BTS Takes Break Until 2025 to Serve in South Korean Military
BTS has been one of the most unstoppable forces in pop music for most of the last decade, topping the charts and selling out concerts all over the world. But on October 17, their record label, Big Hit, said that the boy band would be taking a break for a few years because the members were going to join the South Korean military.
Big Hit said in a press release that Jin, the group’s oldest member at 29, will “start the process as soon as he finishes his schedule for a solo release in late October.” There is no timetable for the other six members of the group, but the record company said that they “expect to reunite as a group around 2025 after their service commitment.” The goal date of 2025 means that Jungkook and Jimin, who are both 25 years old, could start their service earlier than the rest of the group.
Should BTS really need to take a break?
Men in South Korea must join the military before they are 30 years old and serve for at least 18 months. Some high-profile female athletes, like South Korean MLB players and Olympic athletes, are getting out of military service. This has caused some controversy in Korea. Some musicians might be exempt, but this doesn’t apply to K-pop, which is becoming more popular and has a huge market share ( Fortune, citing the Hyundai Research Institute, wrote that in 2018, BTS contributed more than 3,000 million dollars to the South Korean economy, and that in 2017 more than 7 percent of all tourists were inspired to visit the country thanks tobts ).
But refusing to serve can have a big effect on a Korean artist’s ability to make a living as an artist. One of the biggest stars of the 1990s, singer Yoo Seung-jun, changed her nationality and gave up her Korean passport so she wouldn’t have to go to the military. She was then banned from entering South Korea.
Is it the end of BTS?
The news that BTS joined the military came after their October 15 concert in Busan, which many critics said felt like a farewell show. Teen Vogue quoted several members of BTS, and it was clear from what they said that they were thinking about the future: Jimin said, “I really didn’t want to get old, but now I’m interested to see what we’ll be like in 10 years. I have no fear. I think that in the future I will be so happy… What we’ve done so far is just a taste, I think.”
Since their first album came out in August 2014, BTS has made a lot of great new music. They’ve put out nine studio albums, a few EPs, and four concert films, and their tours have been a huge success. Its English-language singles like “Dynamite” and “Butter” have been huge hits in the US and beyond, and its members have worked with American stars like Halsey and Juice WRLD.
In the fast-paced music business of today, being out of the spotlight for more than two years is a big risk for one of the boy bands that have had an impact beyond their music, even on South Korean fashion and streetwear. But whether out of confidence, hope, or optimism, BTS thinks that its huge and passionate fan base, known as “The Army,” won’t go away before 2025.
“We will always be here with you, whether it’s 20 years or 30,” Suga told the crowd in Busan. “Come on, let’s get old together”.
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