K-pop megastars BTS told fans they were taking a break from the supergroup to focus on their solo careers, citing exhaustion and the pressures of stratospheric success in an emotional video appearance.
But the Grammy-nominated septet’s label HYBE pushed back on Wednesday as their share price went into freefall, telling AFP that the pop juggernaut would still be working together.
The seven members of BTS, credited with generating billions of dollars for the South Korean economy, dropped the bombshell on Tuesday, telling fans that they were “exhausted” and needed time apart.
“We’re going into an off phase now,” said Suga, 29, speaking Korean to his bandmates at a group dinner, a video of which was posted to the group’s official YouTube channel.
The clip included English subtitles, which used the word “hiatus,” but HYBE quickly disputed that, saying group activities would not be suspended.
“They will be doing team and individual projects simultaneously,” a representative for the label, whose share price was down 27 percent early Wednesday, told AFP.
In the video, RM, 27, said they were “exhausted” and that they “didn’t know what kind of group we were anymore.”
“The problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature,” he said, referring to South Korea’s notoriously hard-driving music business model.
“Somehow, it’s become my job to be a rapping machine,” he said, adding that this made him feel “trapped.”
Jimin, 26, said the members are “slowly trying to figure things out now”.
By the end of the dinner, several of the members of the group behind “Dynamite” and “Butter” had grown tearful as they voiced gratitude for their supporters, a fandom known online as the “ARMY”.
ARMY’s online reaction was tearful but supportive, with tens of thousands of comments quickly posted under the YouTube video.
“I can’t imagine how much pressure they felt these latest years. Being called the biggest band in the world, having all that responsibility… must be overwhelming,” one fan wrote.