Yesterday, the members of BTS announced the world-conquering K-pop group would be taking a break to focus on solo projects. The 24 hours since have been a doozy, and now the band and its management are jumping to the horn to clarify.
In an hour-long video posted to the band’s YouTube on Tuesday, the seven members of BTS—Jin, Jimin, RM, J-Hope, Suga, V, and Jungkook—gathered at a long table full of food and drink inside the house where they first lived together as a band to celebrate BTS’s ninth anniversary, an event known in the BTS universe as “FESTA.” (They’re all seated facing the camera, not unlike The Last Supper.)
After an opening disclaimer claiming that the video is “NOT scripted! NOT staged!” the band spoke relatively candidly about their career and reminisced about their early days, which got several members teary-eyed. Eventually, they shared that they would be taking a hiatus to focus on solo projects.
“We’ve talked among ourselves several times and we believe it’s good to take some time apart,” J-Hope said in the video. “I hope that people don’t think negatively about this step and that they see this is a healthy, important part of our plan that will let BTS grow stronger.”
They described feelings of guilt about their decision and not wanting to let their ARMY of fans down, but emphasized that they each wanted to figure out who they were on their own—especially as the band members enter their late 20s—if only to eventually be a stronger unit together.
“The problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature,” said 27-year-old RM, adding that at times he’s felt “trapped inside myself.”
The K-pop sensation-turned-biggest boy band in the world opting to take a break at arguably the height of their nearly decade-long career is a huge move with consequences across the entertainment world. And within a few hours of the video going live, HYBE—the entertainment company behind BTS—said in statement that “BTS are not taking a hiatus. Members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time.” Nonetheless, as Billboard reported, stock prices for HYBE fell 27.5% Wednesday morning—carving off about $1.7 billion of market value—and continued to rebound and stagger throughout the day.
Finally, on Wednesday, Jungkook took to the South Korean live streaming app V LIVE to clear up any misunderstandings about the band taking a breather, saying that they would not be disbanding and will continue to produce things together as a group, like their ongoing web series, while working on those solo projects. Time, obviously, will tell.