With the spread of COVID-19 around the world, K-POP is currently taking a toll.
BTS’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment, announced that BTS is canceling the planned World Tour Seoul Concert to mark the release of their new album MAP OF THE SOUL: 7. BTS was scheduled to hold “BTS Map of the Soul Tour – Seoul” on April 11, 12, 18 and 19 at the main stadium of Jamsil Sports Complex.
Big Hit Entertainment said, “We expect the situation to improve, but we have to consider the health and safety of 200,000 visitors as well as artists. If we cancel the concert right before the concert date, the damages to overseas visitors, performance-related companies and staff members will get bigger. So we inevitably decided to cancel the event about a month ahead of the schedules.”
Despite the cancellation of various concerts due to COVID-19, BTS concerts in April, which is scheduled more than a month away, were seen as the last bastion. As a team with global impact, their cancellation was feared to bring down the psychological line of resistance for some people. News of this cancellation has been reported not only in Korea but also in major media outlets around the world.
MAMAMOO also canceled their promotion schedule in Japan and Moon Byul’s solo concert has been temporarily postponed. MAMAMOO’s agency, RBW, announced on February 27 that the promotional schedules for the release of MAMAMOO’s Japanese album, which was scheduled from March 7 to March 15, have been canceled. Also, Moon Byul’s solo concerts scheduled on April 3-5 has been temporarily postponed due to concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus.
There have already been numerous cancellations of K-POP concerts in Korea. TWICE canceled their World Tour finale performances in Seoul on March 7 and 8 due to COVID-19. Their agency, JYP Entertainment reported on February 24 that they have decided to cancel TWICELIGHTS in Seoul ‘FINALE’ due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
AKMU also canceled a national tour of Chuncheon, Jeonju and Cheongju. YG Entertainment issued a refund notice stating, “As the crisis alert of the COVID-19 has been raised to the highest level of ‘Serious,’ AKMU’s ‘Voyage’ tour in Chuncheon (March 14), Jeonju (March 21) and Cheongju (March 29) will be canceled.”
What is more worrisome is a series of overseas concerts cancellations. Over the years, K-POP concerts have been more active in overseas than at home, but with COVID-19, several concerts scheduled in the various Chinese regions have already been cancelled. Also, several concerts to be held in Taiwan with stars, including Taeyeon, Kim Sung Kyu and GOT7, have all been postponed.
The damages are expected to increase further in the future. As of February 28, a total of 52 ares have banned or restricted the entries of Koreans. This is nine more than the previous day. If more countries block or reinforce the entry of Koreans in the future, K-POP industry will suffer a major setback.