K-Pop sensation BTS will give what could be their last concert in years

Bloomberg — South Korean boy band BTS is will present in full this Saturday for the 1st time since their surprise release in June of an indefinite hiatus, which will draw fans eager to see the group reunite in what could be years.

It is expected that the recital in Busan, aimed at promoting the 2nd largest city in South Korea to host the 2030 World Expogather thousands of fans from all over the planet, highlighting the group’s role as a cultural superstar and economic power that is difficult to replace.

The group has stated that its members intend to focus on solo activities. Although he has not specified how long the parenthesis will last, in the coming years the members will have to do military service, which is compulsory in their country, which means that it will take years to meet again.

“It’s not exactly the last time, although probably no more concerts will be held in the near futurebecause some of them are going to sign up soon,” he said. Jessica Wana 32-year-old from Hong Kong and one of the fans who will come to Busan for the show that will be held at the Asiad Main Stadium, with a capacity of 50,000 people. She follows the band from their beginnings, seeing them perform in cities like Bangkok and Paris. “To be her fan is to feel like she’s come all the way with them.”

The seven-member pop group has been central in the creative wave of South Korea, known as hallyu , which spread through Asia before reaching the main consumers in the United States and Europe. JAlong with Psy’s viral hit song “Gangnam Style” and the black comedy thriller parasite (Parasite), K-pop has helped promote the attractiveness of the country as a cultural force and tourist destination.

A 2018 study by the Hyundai Research Institute showed that the total economic value the group could create between 2014 and 2023 would be worth 56 trillion won ($39 billion). South Korea posted a record trade surplus in intellectual property rights in the first half of this year, according to data from the Bank of Korea, helped by the overseas popularity of BTS, as well as South Korean dramas and movies.

That is why some polls show that the majority of South Koreansnot just the group’s dedicated fans known as Army (military), think that group members should be allowed exemptions or offered some alternative to military duties.

Some Korean lawmakers have introduced bills that would add award-winning pop artists to the list of people, such as sports medalists and classical musicians, exempt from service. Earlier this year, the then Minister of Culture, Hwang Hee asked that an exemption be allowed for BTS memberssaying that otherwise it would be a “cultural loss for humanity”.

Nevertheless, military service exemptions are controversial in a country where inequality and privilege are highly sensitive issues. All the citizens males 18 to 28 years old they must serve for about two years to ward off North Korea. Kim Seok-jin, the oldest member of BTS, is due to join the army after he turns 30 on December 4and the second oldest member, Min Yoon-ki, will enlist in 2024 under a revised law.

BTS has said that its members will continue with their diplomatic activities, like the concert on Saturday to help the Korean government organize the World Expo. But few believe that there will be many more events in the short term. The announcement of the group’s hiatus triggered a $10 billion sell-off of shares in BTS’s management company, Hybe Co. (352820), worth $10 billion.

It is unclear who could fill BTS’s shoes. the women’s band blackpink is achieving some global success through YouTube and streaming services, but few K-pop acts have the star power of BTS. Since their debut in 2013, BTS has gained a following for their intricately choreographed dance and mix of hip-hop-influenced synth-pop beats, as well as songs that reference mental health and social pressures. The group was invited to the White House earlier this year to speak about anti-Asian hate crimes.

the busan concert will be broadcast live on various big screens in the city, including Haeundae Beach, and will be streamed live on online platforms. Organizers are also expecting fans from Japan and Taiwan, as the government has expanded its temporary visa-waiver program for arrivals from those places.

The landmarks of the southeastern port city, including the Namhang Bridge and the Busan Tower, have been illuminated in purple, the color symbol of the band. Backers of Busan’s bid to host the World Expo believe it could attract some 50 million visitors, create 500,000 jobs and generate economic value of more than $40 billion. Its competitors include Saudi Arabia, Italy and the Ukraine.

With the assistance of Michael Sin.

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K-Pop sensation BTS will give what could be their last concert in years

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