In December 2019, BTS was planning for what was expected to be their biggest world tour, in support of their new album, Map of the Soul: 7 which was released February 2020. They were in the US to promote the album for a few weeks in January/February of that year before returning to Korea to start preparing for the tour, scheduled to kick off at Seoul Olympic Stadium in April. And then COVID. So…they pivoted and innovated.
Over the last two years, their schedule was different from what they were anticipated but no less busy. There have been multiple online concerts, which have revolutionalised the virtual livestream experience. They shot two series of their reality lifestyle show, In the Soop. They also released a whole new season of their long-running variety series, Run BTS. And a whole album. And, oh yeah, in that time they sent six – SIX – songs to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. One of those songs, “Butter”, is Variety’s Record of the Year.
BTS’s RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook just wrapped their first in-person shows in two years with four sold-out performances at SoFi Stadium last week. This comes after a whirlwind American press push, with appearances at the American Music Awards, talk show visits, and other public engagements, plus their second Grammy nomination. Given the endurance they’ve maintained since their debut – it’s been over a decade now – I thought they’d return to Korea after their month-long trip to the US and head straight into Korean award season, a marathon in its own right.
Instead, they made this announcement yesterday:
Let’s put this “extended period of rest” in context, LOL, because we’re not talking about an Adele six years. You’ll note that in the statement about their break, they also made reference to their upcoming concert in Seoul in March 2022 and confirmed that a new album is on the way. Plus, the Grammys are on January 31. So it’s only going to be a matter of weeks, no more.
That said, just as they told us about this break, Vogue Korea and GQ Korea announced that they will simultaneously cover the January issues of both magazines which means they’ve banked all kinds of content ahead of this break to roll out while they’re away.
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BTS is basically that colleague who goes on holiday but makes it so that you don’t have to put in extra work when they’re gone. It’s considerate!
And that’s the adjective that came to mind when I was watching the livestream of their final SoFi concert last Thursday night. It started at 1030pm my time. It ended close to 130am my time, nearly three hours of singing, choreo, talking, sharing – non-stop energy, non-stop dancing, non-stop visual and emotional stimulation, non-stop output, because that’s the consideration they put into their work: they want to ensure that there’s no f-cking that it’s worth it. It has to be worth it, since fans from an estimated 78 countries around the world descended on Los Angeles last week to see them, and in the process injected millions into the local economy. Click here to read a report on how the BTS concerts were their own economic stimulus package for Los Angeles, from restaurants to retail to the airline industry. BTS already brings in something like $5 BILLION to South Korea – but their economic impact is not restricted to their own national borders.
This doesn’t happen through phantom engagement. There are the stragglers out there who persistently attribute BTS’s popularity to algorithmic manipulation and bot activity – but that bullsh-t theory doesn’t hold up when real dollars are being spent, when real people are showing up, when real human energy backs up real online activity.
Speaking of energy… as noted in the statement, this is only the second time that the band has taken a break since their debut; frankly, I think probably ARMY needs one too – I know I do. Because I’m so behind! These people DO NOT STOP! Who can keep up!? Like, not to make it about me here but I’m going to. I need their break to catch up on all the sh-t they’ve put out in the last few months, all the content they’ve released on their YouTube channel, episodes of their television series, their candid livestream chats, their new individual Instagram accounts.
So if you’re a novice, this is a good time for you too. When things slow down during the holidays, and you want to spend time with seven entertainers who represent the best of celebrity, immerse yourself in Bangtan and get ready for BTS 2022. If their history has taught us anything, they’ll be back bigger than ever.
Yours in gossip,