All seven members of boy band BTS promised to renew their contracts with HYBE and “stay together in 2025 and beyond,” in a rare move in K-pop in which contract renewals come as some of the trickiest and most sensitive issues for both fans and companies.
“The board of BigHit Music all agreed to renew the exclusive contracts of BTS members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook,” the company said in a press release Wednesday.
The renewals will be made at different times for individual members because two members — Jin and J-Hope — are currently fulfilling their military duties, while member Suga is set to start his service on Friday.
To celebrate the renewal, BigHit Music will donate 1 billion won ($752,000) to Unicef. The contribution is part of the “Love Myself” campaign that the boy band began in collaboration with the Korean branch of Unicef in November 2017.
This is the second time for the members to renew their contracts with the agency. The band debuted in June 2013 and first renewed their contracts in October 2018, two years earlier than when their standard seven-year contracts would have ended.
The company did not reveal how long these new contracts would last, but promised that “all of BTS will be together after 2025.”
“With this renewal, we will be able to see BTS as a whole again, which we plan on seeing in 2025,” HYBE said in a press release. “We promise to support the artists in all ways possible so that BTS’s reputation becomes even more elevated.”
Members are expected to have received over 21 billion won each as a down payment for re-signing, according to analyst Kim Hye-young from Daol Securities & Investment.
“The members received 7 billion won and [HYBE] Chairman Bang Si-hyuk gave each member 68,385 shares of the company when they renewed their contracts for the first time in 2018,” Kim said. HYBE shares closed at 230,500 won on Thursday, meaning each member currently holds about 15.8 billion won in shares.
“Considering how contract renewals are made, the down payment they received for this renewal is expected to be over 21 billion won each.”
The remaining four members will need to start their military services by the first quarter of next year at the latest in order to meet the 2025 group activity plan, Kim added.
This early renewal is a rare move that attests to the trust between the artists and the agency. Members of other K-pop groups will often choose to sign with different agencies when their initial seven-year contracts end, oftentimes in order to pursue individual careers rather than group activities.
Even if all members of a group do agree to stay with their agency, it’s common for the company to take weeks, if not months, to announce it to the public after successfully persuading the members to stay.
BTS celebrated its 10-year anniversary last June with a large-scale festival that took place in various parts of Seoul, under the title “2023 BTS Festa.”
Even after seeing great success, BTS faithfully adhered to the all-members-together rule, rather than having members start individual careers in acting or singing. It was only in June last year that the group announced it would essentially go on a hiatus and that members would all release their own solo projects due to their mandatory year-and-a-half service in the military.
All seven members have since released solo songs, starting with Jin and ticking off each member from the list until the final member, V, dropped his album “Layover” earlier this month. Members all stormed the music charts around the world with their songs, including V who landed atop the Billboard 200 albums chart and members Jungkook and Jimin who topped the Hot 100 singles chart this year.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]