Global phenom Kpop group BTS is disbanding so its members can undertake their mandated military service before reforming “around 2025,” per an official statement Monday. In response, fans flocked to Twitter promising to wait for their triumphant return.
BTS has risen to international stardom in the decade since forming, with members of the Korean boy band permitted to postpone their military service in 2020 to continue performing.
The statement from BTS’ label BigHit Music announcing the group’s hiatus states that band members will resume giving performances after they complete military service, and “there’s much more yet to come in the years ahead.” Fans have met the news with sadness and admiration.
BTS member Jin will be the first to enlist at some point this month, with the remaining members of the group signing up for service later.
Fans won’t be left completely bereft, as some members will still conduct individual activities into the first half of next year. BTS has also stockpiled content in advance to release during the hiatus, per an investor note released by BigHit parent company Hybe Corporation.
While fans grieve for all the live shows the group won’t be holding over the next couple years, South Korea as a whole will likely suffer too: BTS brings in an estimated $3.6 billion to the country’s economy every year and generates $1.1 billion in merchandise sales and other exports annually, according to a Fortune report. One in 13 tourists visiting South Korea do so solely because of the group, the report said.
BTS’ global rise has spread Kpop’s reach, and the group’s hiatus could mean a waning for the genre outside Korea. Despite not releasing any new albums aside from a pair of “best of” collections, BTS still took 30% of all Kpop music sales and song streams from 2021 through June, Billboard reported. The group had been planning to take a break as individual members began releasing their solo material, but it’s unclear how much hold BTS will have while fans wait for them to reform in 2025 — or who may rise to take their place.