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BTS: Beginning to Serve

By Izhaan Ahmed

BTS, a K-pop band, announced on October 17 that they will soon be serving military drafts in the coming years, reconvening as a group in 2025.

For a decade, the boy band has enjoyed exponential and worldwide success. Debuting as a hip-hop group but branching out to a wide plethora of genres and platforms, they have cultivated a fan base known as “Army.” In June, the group revealed in an interview that they would be focusing their efforts on solo projects. At the height of their career, BTS has finally decided to continue their break for the next three years.

Many students expressed their disappointment when hearing news of BTS’s extended hiatus.

“When news broke out that their leaving was official, in all honesty, I was devastated. I knew it was going to happen eventually, but it felt so unreal,” junior Ashlin Benny said. “But alongside that, it made me respect them even more. I know the wait until 2025 will be a sad, long journey, but I trust them and know that they will be back and better than ever.”

Reproduced with permission from Wikimedia Commons

The K-pop band gathers at the Melon Music Awards in South Korea.

In the wake of omnipresent tension with North Korea, South Korea has made military service compulsory for all adult male citizens. BTS’ oldest member, Jin, postponed his service in 2020, as granted by the government in the “Order of Cultural Merit,” but he is unable to postpone service any further. Although certain cultural figures in the arts and sports may apply for an exemption, pop acts such as BTS are not able to apply.

“The journey [BTS] has gone through is amazing. They became a hugely popular group internationally in a very short time, and they’re very patriotic towards their country,” senior Irene Paul said. “But the president kept holding off their enlistment because they were helping the economy. I’m thankful that they eventually chose the military draft, because if they didn’t, they would have been shamed and dishonored like other artists from South Korea who chose not to do it.”

BTS and their brand have contributed greatly to the South Korean economy. They generate $3.6 billion annually for the country and are responsible for 1 in every 13 tourists. In total, analysts estimate the group has contributed $29.1 trillion to the country’s economy from 2014 to 2023.

“At the height of their career, BTS has finally decided to continue their break for the next three years...”

“I find it admirable that they are still willing to follow their civic duties and serve in the military,” senior Ashwathi Chemban said. “However, as for economic consequences, there isn’t much I can think of due to their already established global popularity. I do not think their sales will be as affected, as fans tend to consume their music regularly even in long periods of inactivity, and thus their relevance will remain, even after all seven members finish their military service.”

Overall, BTS’ lasting influence will be felt across the world, despite their long separation. The K-pop group has brought economic prosperity to their country, and their presence will be missed by many.


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