Park Bo Kyun, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea, recently made a stance on the issue of BTS’ military service
On August 5th, a public conference on Korea’s music industry was held at the Seoul office of the Copyright Protection Department in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
The conference gathered the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Bo Kyun, Chairman Kim Chang Hwan of the Korea Music Contents Association, President of the Korean Music Label Industry Association Yoon Dong Hwan, President of Korean Singers Association Lee Ja Yeon, COO of HYBE Labels Kim Tae Ho, CFO of SM Entertainment Jang Cheol Hyuk, Managing Director of YG Entertainment Jeong Jeong Young, External Affairs Director of JYP Entertainment Kim Sang Ho, General President of Brave Entertainment Jo Ki Hyun, CEO of Durduuru Artist Company Kang Myung Jin, Head of the Sejong City Cultural Foundation Kim Hye Ok.
Here, Minister Park responded to the request of some attendees to “make a decision on the issue of military service for pop culture artists such as BTS as soon as possible.”
In particular, some pointed out the issue of equity with other areas where military service exemptions are applied, and suggested that a system should be established first, including standards for applying them to popular culture and artists.
Additionally, the attendees requested easing regulations on music video review, drafting standard contracts between broadcasters and agencies, improvement of the distribution of neighboring copyrights for singers, establishing a Korean Popular Music Archive as soon as possible, cracking down on concert tickets, support for performance hall rental fees, and expansion of support for overseas expansion of small and medium-sized entertainment companies.
Minister Park said: “Popular music is like a symbol of Korean culture’s charm.The global spread of the Korean Wave, represented by K-pop, is the result of hard work of those involved in the music industry.” He also added: “We will consider ways to expand diversity, such as improving regulations in the popular music industry, increasing support for small and medium-sized businesses to enter overseas markets by expanding concert opportunities, and expanding support for music studios for local musicians.”
Finally, Park Bo Kyun expressed his principle on BTS’s military service exemption issue, saying: “We will collect public opinion as a matter to be decided by the Ministry of National Defense.”
The current Military Service Act stipulates that people with special skills in the fields of arts and sports prescribed by Presidential Decree, can be incorporated into art and sports personnel recommended by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism..
In the case of popular artists, they have not been subject to special military service exemptions due to a lack of proper standards, but as BTS has dominated the U.S. Billboard main charts “Billboard 200” and “Hot 100,” it is pointed out that it is unfair not to include pop artists.
Public opinion that their achievements so far are not inferior to other artists who are currently enjoying special military service benefits by receiving awards at various competitions has gained momentum, and some lawmakers proposed an amendment to the BTS Military Service Special Act, but it is so far pending in the National Assembly
Starting with Jin, the eldest member of BTS, RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook are all Korean nationals and eligible for active duty enlistment. Jin, who was born in December 1992, should have enlisted in December last year, but applied for a postponement of enlistment until the end of this year as the Military Service Act for Outstanding Popular Culture and Arts was revised in June last year.