The seven members of the global K-pop sensation, BTS, have officially extended their contracts with the entertainment agency HYBE, the company confirmed on Wednesday. This development comes as the group is currently in a “hiatus” period, with some members fulfilling South Korea’s mandatory military service obligations.
BTS, since their debut in 2013, has been widely acknowledged for their significant economic contributions to South Korea and their role in enhancing the nation’s image and soft power on the global stage.
The K-pop powerhouse announced their “hiatus” from group activities last year, and presently, two of its members are serving approximately 18 months of military duty. Reports in the local media suggest that the group might reunite around 2025, once all seven members have completed their military service.
In a regulatory filing, HYBE, the agency representing BTS, stated, “Our company has completed the Board of Directors’ resolution to renew the exclusive contracts of seven BTS members. This fact was judged to be a management matter that could affect the company’s financial status and investor decision-making and was therefore disclosed.”
Previously, the band had renewed their contracts with HYBE in 2018, contracts that were set to expire in 2024. Although specific details regarding the duration of the new contracts and their expiration dates were not disclosed, this latest announcement strongly suggests that all seven members will continue their association with the label even after completing their military service.
It’s worth noting that some male K-pop stars have encountered challenges in re-establishing their careers after fulfilling their military obligations, given the highly competitive nature of the industry.
Earlier in March, Bang Si-hyuk, the chairman of HYBE and the mastermind behind BTS, expressed concerns that requiring BTS to complete their military service was hindering the global growth of K-pop.
In South Korea, all able-bodied men are obligated to serve at least 18 months in the military. Following extensive discussions about whether BTS should receive an exemption, Jin, the eldest member of the group, enlisted last year. Subsequently, J-Hope began his mandatory service in April, and SUGA is set to commence his military duty on Friday.
Following the contract renewal news, HYBE’s shares experienced a slight decline of 0.82 per cent in Seoul on Wednesday.
K-pop contract renewals often involve intricate negotiations, and this development comes shortly after a temporary dip in YG Entertainment’s shares, the agency representing BLACKPINK. Local media reports had suggested that Lisa, a member of BLACKPINK, had declined a renewal offer. However, share prices rebounded later, and details regarding new contracts for BLACKPINK, one of K-pop’s most successful girl groups, are yet to be officially announced.