In a statement from the Korea Singers Association attributed to President Lee Ja Yeon and republished by The Korea Timesthe industry group expressed concern that the BTS phenomenon will be difficult for South Korea to replicate — an odd assumption given that countless K-Pop groups have enjoyed huge success abroad in recent years.
“I am concerned that the ‘BTS Hallyu wave,’ a movement with the greatest cultural softness the world has ever seen, will soon disappear,” Lee said, referring to the Chinese term for the K-Pop boom that ” Korean Gulf.” “In the years leading up to the birth of this movement, it was believed that finding the ‘Next Beatles’ would be a very difficult feat, and now we have reached a point where it is difficult to hope for the ‘Next BTS’. ‘. ‘ will appear soon. So there is great concern that Hallyu’s heartbeat will stop.”
ARMY quickly attacked the statement from the Korea Singers Association, reprimanding the group for setting unrealistic expectations of BTS, whose members have spoken openly about burnout in the past. The reaction was so fierce that “LEAVE BTS ALONE” quickly rose to the top of Twitter’s trending topics as soon as fans got wind of the release.
“I did not apply as a missionary of the Hallyu wave and Korean culture,” a fan wrote on Twitter, while another fan wrote on Reddit, “BTS hasn’t released an hour-long video explaining everything so people feel guilty about continuing to work.”
Lee also suggests that without BTS, South Korea will lose its cultural cachet as a must-visit destination for international K-Pop fans as BTS aficionados find other artists or bands to support. “If BTS leaves, Hallyu and Korean culture missionaries, ARMYs, will also leave,” she said in the statement. “South Korea’s tourism industry will suffer and it will be difficult to hope for a future for South Korea as a cultural center in Asia.”
Last week, BTS — made up of members Jin, Jimin, RM, J-Hope, Suga, V and Jungkook — broke the news of the hiatus to fans during a pre-recorded segment as part of the group’s annual FESTA celebration. A BTS representative later said: rolling stone that the break is designed to give members the chance to explore other opportunities beyond the boundaries of the group. “Right now we’re out of our way and I just want to take some time to think,” RM said during the FESTA video, explaining that “the whole idol system” means K-Pop performers aren’t the “getting time to grow up.” Jimin also discussed the group’s burnout, calling their efforts to re-examine and reinvent the BTS brand an “exhaustive and long process.”
After concerned fans questioned whether the hiatus would eventually lead to a complete dissolution of BTS, Jungkook spoke at length about the hiatus in a live stream the following day. “Let me tell you this one more time: We’re not breaking up,” he said in the video. “We still have a lot of work to do as a group and we will do more in the future.” He later added, “BTS is forever.”
The group’s hiatus came days after the release of their comprehensive anthology album, Proof — a three-disc collection of fan favorites, three new songs, and a handful of unreleased demos. The group also recently performed at the Grammys, headlined a residency in Las Vegas and visited the White House to discuss the rise of anti-Asian sentiment in the United States.
J-Hope will be the first BTS member to show off his solo efforts when he headlines Lollapalooza this summer. Jimin, Suga and Jungkook also plan to release solo projects in the future.