BTS (originally known as Bangtan Sonyeondan) is a world-famous South Korean boy group. The group is under the label called Hybe Labels (former name Bighit Labels). The boy group has 7 members whose names are Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, and Jeon Jungkook. The K-pop group debuted in 2013 under Bighit Entertainment.
BTS is known across the world, making records as the first Korean boy group to get Grammy Nominations, performing at Grammys, for staying on Billboard top 10 for the longest period of time and countless numbers of Daesangs (Korean grand awards).
When will BTS disband?
Usually, K-pop contracts are for 7 years. Starting from 2013, the contract expired in 2020. However, it was renewed till 2026-2027. However, what ARMYS( the fandom of BTS) is worried about is the military enlistment of Kim Seokjin. Basically, according to Korean Law, any male citizen has to serve the country for 1.5 years. That means that they have to serve in the military while young, preferably between 20-30 years of age. However, certain people, such as Olympic athletes who have helped the country, maybe exempted.
Korean Parliament on Exemption of BTS from Military Enlistment
Therefore their label is trying to get an exemption for BTS members because of their extraordinary achievements, which Korea develops. They helped in 1.7% export of consumer goods which is a huge number considering it as a contribution from a single group. BTS also contributes to 3% of the total GDP of South Korea. Considering all this, there are huge debates at the parliament where members are divided in their opinion. Though Bighit is trying to get the exemption until now, Jin ( aka Kim Seokjin’s ) has only been delayed for 2 more years.
The popularity of BTS worldwide – Initial days, Mental health and Worldwide Initiative
BTS debuted with a bankrupt company. From the beginning, their only goal was not to fail. The group faced much hatred, starting with the name Bangtan Sonyeondan. Everyone said that the group would not even last 2 years with such a name. Then members faced hate regarding their skin complexion and physical appearance not matching typical Korean Beauty Standards. Slowly, they started gaining popularity. The initial albums portrayed BTS as adolescents who are students and interested in dating. However, the first album to get international recognition is HYYH, and the most popular hit song was “ I Need U.” This was followed by “Wings,” which got huge recognition around the world and got BTS many respectable awards. The themes of the songs are related to human difficulties, mental health, struggles of growing up, lost childhood, health issues, and more. The songs have touched the hearts of millions.
In 2017, BTS released their albums Love Yourself: Her, Tear and Answer. This was their biggest step in teaching their “ ARMYS” and the entire world to love themselves and forgive their own mistakes. This was followed by BTS being a part of UNICEF-“ Love Yourself, Speak Yourself” movement. The speech delivered by the leader Kim Namjoon has motivated millions. The movement is aimed at reducing violence and bullying and protecting Child rights.
BTS’s decision of disbandment in 2018
In amidst of all this in 2018, BTS discussed their disbandment on the public forum. In the MAMA awards, 2018, Jin from BTS spoke about their disbandment. He said that the members were facing immense stress and detachment from support systems. Jin could not attend a funeral of a family member because he was touring and had concerts. V (aka Kim Taehyung) also had a similar experience. He admitted in a concert that his grandmother passed away while he was touring, and he was really heartbroken. He was very close to his grandmother. RM, the leader ( Kim Namjoon), recently has surgery, and he did not get the time to recover from that.
Several incidents where the members, mainly Jungkook, suffered from breathing problems during the concerts. Park Jimin also had an ankle fracture but did not get much time to recover. The members also got death threats and increased Saseng activities (obsessive fans who turn into stalkers) constantly following them to the airport and bathrooms. Etc. One of the Saseng and broke in and tried to kiss Min Yoongi. Being n idol is so tough, provided they do not have any personal space in their lives. Even their family members’ lives are at risk because of such things.
All of these stressful incidents led BTS to talk about disbandment. They asked the fans to take it seriously. MAMA 2018 had broken hearts across the globe. Many people said that BTS had achieved all their goals and there is no more left to achieve. However, the members recovered and stayed patient with themselves. Their love for music and dance helped to overcome such burnout.
BTS today on challenges and burnout
BTS, even today, faces a lot of challenges and health issues. Suga( Min Yoongi- the rapper) recently had shoulder surgery was out of the spotlight for quite a few months. The members nowadays take care of their physical and mental well-being. Recently V ( Kim Taehyung ) spoke about a depressed phase of his life when he wrote the song ” Blue & Grey.” The members even ask their fans to take care of themselves. Saseng activities are still common—Jungkook at to sell away his apartment because of Saseng break-in. However, the company policy has gotten much stricter, and anyone who tries to harm the members with rumors or physical harm will have to pay huge fines and might even be imprisoned.
Though people thought that BTS had achieved all of their goals in 2018, their albums Map of the Soul 7 broke records across the world, becoming the largest sold album in 2020. Their English single ” Dynamite,” a disco-pop-themed song, gained huge popularity and the fastest youtube views. The song got them Grammy nominations as well as a Guinness World Record.
BTS members on Disbandment of the group
Ever since 2018, BTS has never spoken directly about disbandment. They often talk about their future after disbandment though they never mention any particular date. Jhope said in the movie “Break the Silence” that the members grew up together and spent a major part of their youth with BTS. This will make it hard for all the members to live without each other. At BTS Festa, the members discussed that they will still stay in touch even if they disband and might even see each other’s families. Taehyung jokingly said that he would see RM’s children grow up.
Changes in BTS under HYBE Labels
The company changed its name, and rumor has it that the BTS contract has extended till 2036, though there is no sure information regarding this. HYBE will increase its arena from Kpop to more lifestyle-based products. BTS today are important shareholders of Bighit(former name of HYBE labels). HYBE has started its extension in the west, and they even have bought the labels to which Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.
BTS, therefore, is least likely to disband soon. They are at the peak of their career, and they have a perfect relationship with the company and the fandom. BTS are brand ambassadors of a few of the biggest companies in the world, such as Hyundai, Samsung, Baskin Robbins, and so on. They are taking on more such partnerships with Asian as well as Western companies.
BTS might have faced accusations in the past ( such as plagiarism) that risked their existence, but all of them turned out to be false. Recently, there was a rumor about dispatch releasing on BTS, but that also became fake. So the risks of BTS’s existence are pretty low apart from the military enlistment, which all the fans are worried about. Even if the members are enlisted, they can come back after serving for the stipulated period.
In K-pop, many instances of members come back to the group after their military enlistment, such as Suho from EXO and Minho from SHINee. Therefore we can look forward to more positive and empowering works from BTS for at least 4 to 5 years, if not more. BTS will heal us like they always have with more music for the soul.