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BTS’s Enlistment Compared to the Beatles’s Disbandment by BBC

UK news site BBC drew attention by comparing the enlistment of all BTS members to the disbandment of the Beatles.

On December 12 (KST), UK news site BBC published an article titled “BTS go off into the army – what now for K-pop’s biggest stars?”. 

The article starts off by comparing BTS to the Beatles, saying, “Imagine if the Beatles broke up at the height of their fame to join the army. That’s what the members of BTS, the world’s biggest pop band, are doing right now.”

According to BBC, Jungkook joined the military just 4 weeks after “riding the high” of his solo-career in New York’s Times Square and announcing collaborations with top-tier pop stars Justin Timberlake and Usher. 


“His debut album ‘Golden’ hit number one on several charts, and the dance solo for his hit single ‘Standing Next to You’ has become a TikTok trend”, the news site also wrote, adding, that just as Jungkook soared into a new peak of stardom, he hit the brakes and returned to Korea for enlistment.

BBC then explained BTS’s military enlistment by pointing out South Korea’s unique historical and social background as the only divided nation remaining in the world, still technically at war. 

Most Korean men are required to serve in the military for 18 months, the news site said, before mentioning the military exemption benefits given to Olympic medalists and classical musicians and emphasizing that BTS’s military exemption was being discussed. 

However, in October, BTS confirmed that they would fulfill their military duties, effectively putting an end to controversial opinions heading their ways regarding enlistment. 


Commenting on this, Grace Kao, a professor at Yale University specializing in K-pop said, “For Western audiences, it does seem quite cruel that people at the height of their success have to stop and take a forced hiatus whether they like it or not”, but adding that this is just a reality South Korea is used to. 

Despite this, analysts believe that BTS’s popularity is likely to be maintained through the support of their fandom, ARMY. 

Jeff Benjamin, a K-pop columnist and writer for Billboard magazine, agreed, stating, “Generally speaking, no matter where you are in the world, if a musical group has a hiatus, it affects their popularity. But I’d venture to say if any group could buck that trend, it would be BTS.”

Furthermore, amid the expansion of the K-pop industry, BTS’s absence is seen as an opportunity for other groups. As per Malaysia-based K-pop academic Jimmyn Parc’s words, ”BTS was too focused on by media outlets. This pause will give other K-pop groups chances to receive more of the limelight. It’s a win-win situation for the industry.” 

Source: Daum, BBC

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