Jun 14, 2022 - Economy

"Exhausted" K-pop sensation BTS lets members explore solo projects

V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, and J-Hope of BTS attends iHeartRadio 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2021.

V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, and J-Hope of BTS attend an event. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

The seven members of BTS are looking for change away from one another, the world’s most popular K-pop icons announced in a video posted today.

Why it matters: The band was careful to say they’re not breaking up. At the same time, history has shown (see: One Direction), that whenever one member pursues a solo career and hits it big, the band basically never reunites.

Catch up quick: In a video posted to YouTube, RM, Jin, SUGA, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook reflected on their meteoric rise.

  • At one point Suga says, “We’re going into a hiatus now."
  • A spokesperson contradicted that in a statement to Billboard saying, “[T]hey are not on hiatus, but will take time to explore some solo projects at this time and remain active in various different formats.”
  • Universal Music Group did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

The band took a break in 2019 for a month and an “extended period of rest” at the end of last year.

What BTS said: "I've always thought that BTS was different from other groups. But the problem with K-Pop and the whole idol system is that they don't give you time to mature ... there's no time left for growth ... I've changed as a human over the past ten years," said RM.

  • Suga weighed in: "Out of all the times I've made music since 2013, I've never purely enjoyed it. It was always painful trying to squeeze out ideas. But doing that now compared to 7-8 years ago feels completely different."
  • Jimin added: “It feels so wrong to even say that we’re exhausted.”

The big picture: The band's massive popularity has become an economic force — helping to drive South Korea's GDP — as well as a cultural force.

  • Their #StopAsianHate tweet was the most retweeted post on Twitter in 2021.
  • The White House last month leaned on the group's popularity to raise awareness of the continued surge in anti-Asian hate crimes.

What to watch: J-Hope is set to appear solo next month when he performs at Lollapalooza in Chicago, becoming the first South Korean artist to headline a major U.S. music festival, according to Variety.

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to delete the Jonas Brothers as an example of a band that never reunites.

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