Universal Music’s Geffen Will Reportedly Release BTS’ Solo Projects — As Hybe’s Market Cap Falls By Nearly $2 Billion

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BTS celebrating after winning “Album of the Year” honors at the 2016 Melon Music Awards. Photo Credit: HopeSmiling

BTS members’ solo projects are reportedly set to release via Universal Music Group’s Geffen Records. The development represents a relative bright spot in an otherwise difficult week for the K-pop sensation’s Hybe agency, which has seen its market cap shrink by nearly $2 billion since Monday.

BTS’ seven members announced plans to prioritize their solo careers during a “Dinner Party” video two days back. In the wake of the news – which arrived about six months before South Korea’s military-service requirement would have split up the group in any event – fans responded with a multitude of social media posts, whereas investors responded by selling off Hybe shares (KRX: 352820).

Specifically, Hybe stock plummeted by nearly a quarter during Wednesday’s trading hours, losing almost $2 billion in value in the process, according to Bloomberg, and finishing at $112.57 (₩145,000) per share when the market closed. The day-end figure signified a roughly 60 percent decline from 2022’s beginning, and the shares rebounded slightly today to $114.89 (₩148,000) apiece.

(Hybe attempted to get in front of the controversy and stock-price setback with a statement, claiming that BTS’ focus on solo projects isn’t a hiatus at all. And RM in a translated open letter addressed the announcement’s being “taken out of context” and spurring “unnecessary drama and misunderstandings.”)

Needless to say, the massive stock-value falloff’s timing underscores just how central a unified BTS is – and how central investors perceive it to be – to Hybe’s operations. The Seoul-based company, which went public in October of 2020, previously relayed that close to 90 percent of its H1 2020 revenue had derived from BTS.

But in addition to continuing to profit from existing BTS releases – legions of dedicated fans have helped the act rack up about 37.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify – Hybe is also positioned to generate revenue from the members’ solo music.

As mentioned at the outset, Geffen is expected to provide support for these projects, per The Wall Street Journal; BTS jumped from Sony Music’s Columbia Records to UMG back in October of 2021, and UMG described BTS as one of last year’s “top sellers.” While each BTS member is presumably working to make waves as a solo artist – with some such efforts having already racked up many millions of streams – J-Hope indicated in the above-noted “Dinner Party” video that his own releases are forthcoming.

“I’ve really started my solo preparations now,” said the 28-year-old, with another member adding off-screen that the Lollapalooza headliner J-Hope will initiate the new era for the group. “BTS’ stance on solo promotions, solo music, is going to change a lot now. … I think that change is what we need right now. It’s an important part for BTS to start our second chapter.”

Consequently, it appears that J-Hope’s follow-up to 2018’s Hope World will become available to fans sooner rather than later. For reference, regarding BTS’ most recent solo music, Suga dropped D-2 in 2020, RM debuted Mono in 2018, Jimin in April created “With You,” V in late 2021 released “Christmas Tree,” and Jungkook just days ago treated ARMY diehards to “My You.”

The latter has already racked up almost 12.5 million YouTube views, and one BTS fanatic’s much-shared message might be indicative of the response – and commercial results – that the coming solo singles and mixtapes will receive from longtime supporters.

“I need every BTS solo debut/comeback treated like a BTS comeback by armys and army fanbases,” rallied the feverish fan. “The means goal posters, streaming playlists, armys unique promo methods, music shows voting, radio request (if a release is push to radio), everything.”