Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre At Daily Briefing

K-Pop Popularity Is Decreasing Because Of BTS Absence

Home / Stars / K-Pop Popularity Is Decreasing Because Of BTS Absence

By Arthur Boiron on March 20, 2023 at 5:30 AM EDT

In 2012, PSY shocked the world with the famous song 'Gangnam Style.' This song made a new genre, K-Pop, recognized worldwide. Then, gradually, more and more artists of their artists started to be noted in Europe and the US. And nowadays, you know at least one famous name in the industry, and one of these names is often BTS.

Article continues below advertisement

BTS is, without a doubt, the most famous K-Pop band worldwide, along with Blackpink. 'Dynamite,' 'Boy With Luv,' 'DNA,' 'Idol,' and 'Fake Love,' BTS has so many hits today that if you know a little about K-Pop, you know all of them. But unfortunately, because of the country's rules, the group had to stop performing to do their mandatory military service. All the fans were very sad because of the news, but the labels also, because K-Pop is not been doing well since the group's 'hiatus.'

Article continues below advertisement
The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards
MEGA
Article continues below advertisement

K-Pop Sales Decrease Day After Day

This was the bad news expected from the studios and labels in South Korea. BTS military service is at the origin of a sales decrease worldwide. More than that, it slows down the global growth of K-Pop outside of the country because BTS was a massive part of those sales. While in South Korea, many groups are famous, so when BTS is not there, many others can distract them, but in the world, It's different because people know only a few groups or listen to a few of them, including BTS for the majority.

Article continues below advertisement

There's even a decrease in demand for K-Pop, which means their absence made some of the listeners quit the genre because of a lack of new content from their favorite group. That's what declared Bang Si-Hyuk, BTS producer and president of their label 'HYBE': "their absence is the first reason. I think it is clear that BTS inactivity as a group plays a major role in this trending change". The Boys Band is the most well-known cultural phenomenon in South Korea; they fill stadiums worldwide, are always on the top charts lists, and make billions of dollars for their country's economy. They even have a name for their community, the ARMY. This means they are more than an attraction; BTS is part of South Korea's ecosystem.

Article continues below advertisement
James Corden and BTS filming for the quot The Late Late Show With James Corden quot in Los Angeles
MEGA

But that's the rule in South Korea, and nobody can do anything about it, even the government; it's the law, and nobody is over it. You must enter the army for at least 18 months; that's how it is. However, some of them, particularly athletes like soccer player Heung-min Son, are exempted from military service. There was a persistent rumor that maybe the BTS group would also be exempted from this military service, which seems somewhat absurd to the rest of the world. But what made them go afterward?

Article continues below advertisement

The Korean Defense Minister Was Very Unhappy

Soon after the announcement that the K-Pop group BTS would have to do their military service, a movement appeared to exempt them from it. But of course, the government, particularly the defense minister, didn't like that movement, mainly because it was causing significant problems in terms and equity and inequality. Only musicians, dancers, or athletes are exempted from military service. Musicians? Yes, the BTS group is considered an artist from popular culture, not a musician, so they cannot be exempted.

BTS costumes sell for 160 000 along with more huge sales for Keith Richards Paul McCartney and Katy Perry memorabilia at music auction
MEGA
Article continues below advertisement

But the problem was more the group's fans because the band members always said they were ready to do their military service when it was time. Even their label, HYBE, didn't challenge the decision much since they peacefully announced the news on their official account. Most people understood it was impossible to make anyone change their minds, so they supported the band members. However, there is good news for the band since they got authorization to perform at 'national level' events during their military service. It means that even though they are supposedly stuck in their base doing military service, they can return anytime when the country needs them. Finally, since it's only 18 months, the wait for the fans will be short.

Article continues below advertisement