South Korea’s economy may suffer a loss amounting to billions as members of the K-pop band BTS are set to serve in the country’s military, which means no new tours or music for the next few years.
Under South Korea’s law, all able-bodied Korean men aged 18 to 28 are required to serve in the military for about 20 months. In 2020, the country allowed BTS members to defer their service. However, the band’s label and management company, Big Hit, announced Monday that all seven members of BTS will serve in the military and come back together as a group “around 2025” after completing their service, as per the label’s statement.
The conscription of BTS’ seven members could come at a great cost to South Korea’s economy, according to Fortune.
In 2018, the Hyundai Research Institute found that BTS is contributing over $3.6 billion to the country’s economy each year. The institute also said the K-pop band is believed to have brought in about 800,000 tourists to South Korea in the same year, representing 7% of all foreign visitors in 2018.
BTS is also believed to have generated at least $1.1 billion from consumer goods exports, including merchandise and cosmetics, making up 1.7% of all exports of consumer goods in 2017. The group was projected to have contributed a total of $29.1 trillion to the South Korean economy between 2014 and 2023.
In addition to the economic implication of the band members’ conscription, their hiatus and military service announcement also sent shares of HYBE Entertainment, its management company tumble about 2.5%, as per Fortune. In contrast, the company’s shares crashed 28% in June when the members announced they were going on a hiatus. HYBE later insisted that the word “hiatus” was a mistranslation.
Following the announcement of BTS’ conscription, HYBE released a statement where it said it has prepared for the band’s military service hiatus for years and said they are “confident in the structure that’s been put in place over the past 10 years.”
There are currently eight other artists under HYBE’s roster, including Seventeen, Tomorrow x Together, Enhypen, Le Sserafim, New Jeans Zico, Fromis_9, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber.