Is J-Hope of BTS the richest K-pop star of all time?
Bangtan Boys, who we know as the K-pop sensation BTS, have been in the news for all sorts of records & milestones lately. Their music videos are crossing 450 million views, becoming the fastest video by a Korean outfit to hit that number, their latest single got more streams on its debut day on Spotify than Taylor Swift’s latest album. The boy band is now preparing for its next big leap – the release of its next album BE.
In the meantime, the band members have each gotten richer by around $7.7 million. Let’s rewind on this and look at how that happened.
Richie Rich or Bangtan Boys?
The record label behind the boy band (Big Hit Entertainment) went public with its IPO this month for 135,000 won, in line with the valuation of the label at over $4 billion. As it happened, the stock jumped to twice that value when it started trading, with the result that the company started trading at 270,000 won. The immediate result of these numbers was that the Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk entered the clan of billionaires.
According to Bloomberg, Bang Si-hyuk saw his net worth skyrocket to $1.4 billion in September of 2020, reportedly making him the fifth richest stockholder in all of South Korea. After all, Big Hit’s IPO was the largest South Korean listing in recent history. At the same time, each BTS member walked away with $7.7 million richer, owning over 6.7% of the total shares.
Giving away 68,385 shares to each member of the band made business sense, as BTS brought in around 97% of the company’s sales last year. BTS also brought in more than 87% of the company’s revenue in the first half of 2020. Did that make J-Hope the richest K-pop star of all time? Let’s dig in.
J-Hope ahead of his bandmates
J-Hope – born Jung Hoseok – has the reported net worth of $20 million & his career trajectory puts him on a higher financial standing than his bandmates. For BTS-related projects, all the bandmates receive equal pay, but J-Hope has a flourishing musical career bringing him the cash.
His solo mixtape Hope World rules various music charts – it rose to the first position on the World Album Chart & even brought him his Billboard debut on the Billboard 200’s top 40. The lead dancer of BTS, J-Hope, has also made savvy financial decisions in real estate investments over the years, including selling an apartment he purchased in 2016.
Reportedly, the apartment was never lived in & later sold at nearly a $1 million profit.
Others in the running
That said, J-Hope isn’t the richest K-pop star. He’s been surpassed by JYJ member Kim Jae-joong, Psy, G-Dragon, and others. Jaejoong might be the richest K-pop star out there, seeing as how several reports claim that his net worth hovers in the $100 million range. It doesn’t strike as impossible, since he’s been active in the industry for a long time, including his gigs in Korean dramas like Spy, Dr. Jin, and Manhole: Feel So Good.
Psy closely follows in the list. He took the internet by storm when his hit song “Gangnam Style” officially broke the internet – and YouTube’s views records. According to a 2014 report by BBC, the music video for his viral song was viewed more than 2 billion times. In a first, this feat forced the tech company to upgrade its maximum view limit to 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, or more than nine quintillions.
He made an indelible dent in the music world, with the surreal dance moves & the catchiest song ever made. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that he walked, so BTS could fly. He reportedly garnered a net worth of $60 million with that iconic song.
Bringing in the money
Following him closely on the heels is G-Dragon, a member of BIGBANG. He has a fashion line to his credit, major collaborations with the likes of Justin Bieber & Missy Elliott, and endorsement deals with giant corporations. All of that has contributed towards a reported net worth of anywhere between $30 and $40 million.
J-Hope is also surpassed by Jung Ji-hoon, known to the world as Rain. The New York Times called him the Korean Justin Timberlake or the Korean Usher, indicating his rise to prominence. His career was steadily climbing milestones, as he played back-to-back nights at Madison Square Garden. He also made appearances in blockbusters, all of which led to a net worth touching a reported $20 million.