By Lee Narin | Mar 15, 2023
Bang Si-hyuk, the head of K-pop group BTS' agency HYBE, shared that he thinks K-pop has come to a head, and the biggest reason for that is the absence of BTS.
On March 15, Bang Si Hyuk spoke at a forum held at the Seoul Press Center.
On this day, Bang Si Hyuk mentioned that K-pop has hit a crisis, and the downfall is pretty clear.
One attendee asked if he could elaborate on the idea, upon listening to his thoughts.
Bang Si-hyuk said, "The main reason why we are seeing a drop in K-pop is the absence of BTS. According to a survey, BTS is more publicly-known than K-pop itself. I'm talking about this on a global level. If we don't consider BTS when mentioning K-pop, the market becomes much smaller."
He continued, "But if anybody asked me if the market will go back to being big again if BTS returned tomorrow, I would say no. That's because the K-pop market has been seeing slow growth for some time already. We have to put BTS aside, and find other ways to expand the market."
Following that, he was asked about HYBE's previously-expressed hope: BTS returning to the industry as a whole in 2025.
Bang Si-hyuk replied, "We never set the year of their return to 2025. HYBE, including the boys, said that we 'hope' for them to resume activities as a 7-member group in 2025. Those were our exact words. Both our agency and BTS will try the best to achieve this goal by 2025. However, we can't guarantee anything."
He added, "I would say the same thing even if they didn't have their military issue, because they also need time to fully prepare themselves for their return. But let me be clear. It is not just our desire to see all members of BTS making a comeback together in 2025; in fact, we all strive to make it happen."
Another question that was raised in the audience was whether BTS will remain in the same boat with HYBE even after they are done serving their military service.
Bang Si-hyuk answered, "You're referring to our contract, I believe? The renewal of contract with superstars like BTS has a big impact, society-wise. It's a matter to be discussed and dealt with cautiously."
"In the case of BTS though, our contract period has been disclosed to the public, and as you know, there is still time. We'll talk over our contract when it's time. I feel that it may be impolite to talk about it before that. It's my way of showing respect to the members of BTS and their fans. We'll inform you of the details of our contract once we have reached a mutual agreement."
BTS is K-pop's most wildly successful and globally recognized group―their fan base extends from Korea to numerous regions across the globe.
Last year, they announced to take a hiatus for the group members to pursue solo projects and fulfill their national mandatory duty.
At the end of last year, JIN marked the beginning of BTS' military service. J-HOPE is next in line; his enlistment date has not been released yet, but he is to begin the service in the near future.
(Credit= Big Hit Music)