These were the warning signs – billboard

Seoul – Throughout their nine-year record-breaking career, BTS have spoken extraordinarily candidly about their personal struggles, an anomaly in the highly manicured K-pop world.

The group’s shock announcement on Tuesday during a live dinner that they were suspending their activities indefinitely to pursue individual projects was no different. The BTS members went so far as to criticize the K-pop idol system that developed them for failing to give them enough breathing space and “time to mature”.

The news of their “stop” shocked a lot of people around the world – so much so that the group’s representative and agency, HYBE, later shared a statement rejecting the term, and member Jungkook sought to explain to fans during the live broadcast that the group was incomparable. But the writing has been on the wall for at least three years, with the seven members increasingly talking about the challenges of stardom and their ongoing scheduling.

Here are some of the warning signs surrounding BTS in recent years:

The audience’s expectations of success caused a crash on stage and health concerns

At the 2018 Mnet Music Awards, Jen tearfully admitted that the group had discussed her resignation at an internal meeting. As their continued global success propelled them to unprecedented heights, the band members felt exhausted and were crouching under the pressure of having to put out hit songs and break chart records. In an interview with painting Last year, Suga compared himself to an Olympic athlete vying for a gold medal and the public’s acclaim. As lead singer Jungkook said painting: “It’s safe to say that I’m very blessed, but the road here has been a tough one. It took a toll on my health, and I think we put every bit of our youth and more on.”

The financial pressure on BTS to pull HYBE forward has taken a toll on them.

While HYBE has become less reliant in recent years on BTS as its top business, by 2020 the group is still generating more than 80% of the company’s revenue. After HYBE (under its previous name Big Hit Entertainment) became a listed company on the Korean Stock Exchange in October 2020, pressure continued to serve as its profit engine. RM . said painting Was pleased with HYBE’s acquisition of Brown ScooterIthaca Holdings. “The field of music is very precarious to say the least,” RM said at the time. “If someone quits or something goes awry among the members… that’s a risky business. We’ve been able to get this far as a group but maybe someone can get sick. We don’t want the world to change just because of what’s happening with us.”

There were disagreements about the future direction of the group

While English-language singles like “Dynamite” and “Butter” have expanded their mainstream appeal, BTS members said they are divided over the English-language recording. R. said M. In one of the first public admissions of disagreement within the group painting Last year “there was no alternative” but to release new music to keep the hype alive. In the Tuesday livestream announcement, however, he admitted that after “Dynamite,” he felt lost about the band’s direction. “I don’t know what kind of group we were in anymore,” he said.

They are facing mandatory military service

After BTS became a household name around the world, some South Korean politicians discussed exempting K-pop stars from military service that requires each member to stay away from their music career for at least 18 months when they turn 30. Jane, who will turn 30 in December, must be drafted next year under current rules. The contentious issue — attempts by artists like Steve Yoo and MC Mong to dodge or delay enlistment have irreparably ruined their careers — has haunted the band since at least 2018, and the members said they were willing to serve.

From now on, some politicians began to view them as more than just ordinary celebrities, but rather as cultural ambassadors who help the economy and increase Korean soft power. BTS appeared at the United Nations, and just last month, at the White House where they spoke out against racism and violence against Asia. In May, at a National Assembly hearing, Lee Ki-Sik, commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration, said, “It may be necessary to reconsider the system taking into account the issue of fairness and public opinion.” But a legislative attempt to bring the bill to a vote in November was unsuccessful amid opposition across the political spectrum. The Ministry of Defense described at the time the move to extend exemption rights to K-pop stars as a “difficult choice that requires caution.”

They are entering adulthood with a belt

Since the beginning of their careers, the group and HYBE have focused heavily on the BTS unit but the agency has allowed audiences to see a little bit of their lives as individuals outside the group. Members previously had no way to express themselves on social media channels that were not under HYBE’s control, until the agency finally allowed them to sign up for individual accounts late last year. On Tuesday, they said they have vacated their shared apartment and are living separately from each other. Last year, BTS said painting That they had little understanding of personal finances and delegated this responsibility to their families – a common occurrence among young Korean music stars. But the disregard for such ordinary obligations resurfaced again in April when the government temporarily withheld Jimin’s apartment for non-payment of health insurance premiums. HYBE’s Big Hit Music label has blamed its employees for negligence.

Collective music output was slowing down

In the early years after their debut, BTS released several EPs and albums, as well as mixtapes and tracks on Soundcloud. Even during the pandemic in 2020, the band released a Korean full-length album, a Japanese album with new music, English single “Dynamite”, and a Korean EP. is being. But in the past year and a half, BTS has released only seven new songs, including “Butter”, “Permission to Dance” and “My Universe” with Coldplay. Before the pandemic, fans could count on at least two EPs of music from the band each year. The group admitted at the live broadcast dinner that the epidemic that caused their appearance in Korea forced them to rethink their release strategies, but the outcome is still noticeably calmer.

There were more opportunities for solo music and overseas cooperation

Over the past two years, as their international fame has grown, the BTS members have been taking more opportunities to work outside of the group. Suga has been writing and producing for many artists in Korea, Japan and the United States such as PSY and Juice WRLD. Meanwhile, Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook released their first-ever singles, which were singles for different versions of the soundtrack: “Yours” by Jin served as the theme song for the Korean mystery drama. slice And Jungkook’s “Stay Alive” was used on BTS webtoon 7 Fitz: Chacho. (Poll conducted by painting which closed early Wednesday showed that fans are more excited to see individual projects by Jimin, Jin, and V.)

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