SOUTH KOREA: Last Wednesday, June 15, K-pop pioneers BTS were met with tears and sympathy from fans, but fury from shareholders in their management firm, a day after the band declared a hiatus from group musical activities to pursue solo projects, citing weariness as the reason.
Many in South Korea were shocked and disappointed by the news, which sparked doubt about the band’s future as three of its seven members approached military service age. The band’s cheery tunes and ideals of young empowerment have made them global stars.
The cafe’s owner, Kim Young-sun, expressed regret for wanting more from BTS at a time when they were struggling, and wished them a well-deserved break to recharge their batteries.
BTS leader and rapper RM claimed he had “felt guilty and afraid” to beg for the rest he sorely needed in a sad video posted on Tuesday, June 14 to commemorate the group’s ninth anniversary as the first Asian band to win artist of the year at the American Music Awards last year.
RM remarked that the K-pop industry did not afford young musicians with “time to mature,” while Jimin stated they were battling to find their personality in what he called a “exhausting process.”
Others on social media chastised BTS’ management company, HYBE, for continually pushing for new albums and other revenue streams.
A request for comment to the company was not immediately returned.
The company’s top executive and certain BTS members dumped stock for 10 billion won ($7.75 million) in December after the stock had performed poorly in recent months.
All able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve in the military for around two years, and Jin, the eldest member of BTS, will begin his service next year.
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A law requesting military exemptions for internationally recognized artists is currently pending in parliament, amid ongoing discussion about whether BTS deserves the same benefits as athletes.