In many ways, the gathering had never been on a higher note as it approached its annual “Festa.” They performed for over 200,000 people in Las Vegas, visited the White House dressed in their black-tie finest, and released an album, “Proof,” commemorating the megahits that have racked up tens of billions of views and managed to make their backers a fortune in just two months.
The pop stars ate, drank, chatted, and reminisced for more than 30 minutes around a table framed by large numbers of purple balloons. J-Hope, the group’s versatile rapper, dancer, and singer who had just days earlier made history by being named a headlining act at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival, dropped the bombshell: All seven are going solo.
The group’s massive fan base, known as the BTS Army, saw the hiatus as the end of an era. And so did Bang Si-fortunes, hyuk’s the South Korean billionaire the behind boy band that dominated the power by storm.
Bang Si-hyuk, founder of Hybe Co., previously Big Hit Entertainment Co., poses at the Korea Exchange during the company’s listing ceremony. SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg is the photographer.
Shares of Bang’s company, Hybe Co., fell 25% in a single day last week following BTS’s announcement, extending the company’s months-long slide and reducing Bang’s fortune by $2.6 billion since its November peak to $1.2 billion, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Despite BTS’s promise to reunite one day, the stock hit a new low on Wednesday.
“Hybe is the house that BTS built,” said Jeff Benjamin, a well-known K-Pop journalist. “When the flagship musician or product changes, people will be concerned, even if the changes are minor.”
Bang founded Hybe in 2005 after a professional life as a music producer. He owns 31.8 percent of the company. Before scoring its first hit with community organization 8Eight’s “Without a Heart” in 2009, the company nearly went bankrupt in its early years. In 2013, BTS released its debut album.
After the company’s initial public offering in 2020, he became an unlikely billionaire, by which time BTS had already collaborated with Halsey, Nicki Minaj, and Steve Aoki, did appear on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live,” and had fans setting up camp out for days before a free show in New York’s Central Park for “Good Morning America.”