Described as "icons of progressive globalism", these artists have also served as presidential emissaries and promoted the actions of UNICEF.

Here's everything you need to know about BTS.

What is BTS?

The group of seven young men, which debuted on June 13, 2013, became the first South Korean band to dominate the US and UK music charts, raking in billions of dollars by building a global community of fans, called "ARMY."

South Korean hits like Psy's heady "Gangnam Style" had already been an international success, but it is generally accepted that BTS has helped bring K-pop into American mainstream culture, to the point of becoming the most influential boy band on the planet.

"As a South Korean idol group, BTS broke a lot of misconceptions and obstacles in the (music) industry to rise to the top of the music charts and be nominated for a Grammy," Jeff Benjamin, who runs the K-pop section of Billboard magazine, told AFP.

K-pop group BTS (from left to right: V, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Jimin and J-Hope) during a press conference for the release of their album "BE (Deluxe Edition)", on November 20, 2020 in Seoul © Jung Yeon-je / AFP/Archives

"But most importantly, they didn't do it by adjusting their views, perspectives, or language to appeal to a wider market, but by fully asserting themselves as the K-pop musicians they are."

What influence?

Outside of music, the band has long supported progressive causes, from the Black Lives Matter protests to the fight against anti-Asian racism in the United States.

Its members spoke at the United Nations and were received at the White House, while remaining one of the most popular groups in the world on social networks.

The BTS group in the White House press conference room, May 31, 2022 © SAUL LOEB / AFP/Archives

Before BTS, K-pop "was perceived as a niche (phenomenon), separate from international culture," Sarah Keith, a media and music specialist at Macquarie University in Australia, told AFP.

"The global popularity of BTS has led to a reversal of this perspective. It's safe to say that BTS has changed the way the world views South Korea."

How will their birthday be celebrated?

Paradoxically, the formation is currently on hiatus while two of its members are doing their compulsory military service after several years of debate about a possible exemption. Jin, the oldest of the group, joined the army in December, and J-Hope in April.

For its anniversary, however, BTS released a single last week, "Take Two," as a nod to the new chapter that opens after a prolific decade. "Each of the seven members participated in +Take Two+," their agency Hybe said. "The song expresses their gratitude to ARMY, for all the love they are covered with."

A BTS fan holds up a portrait of the band's singer, Jin, outside the barracks where he is being drafted into military service on December 13, 2022 in Yeonchon, South © Korea Jung Yeon-je / AFP/Archives

Seoul's tourist hotspots, such as Namsan Tower and Dongdaemun Design Plaza, will be illuminated in purple, the color of ARMY.

RM, the group's leader, will take part in the culmination of the celebrations, an event at Seoul's Han River Park on June 17.

On pause?

The band had cited exhaustion and pressure from their stratospheric success when announcing a hiatus in 2022, explaining that each of the members would take a break to focus on their solo career.

RM said at the time that the K-pop sector, known for its fierce competition, did not allow him to mature as an artist. The band "has to constantly produce music and do something," he said, explaining that he "needs to think and have time for myself."

Stamps honoring BTS for the group's 10th anniversary are presented in Seoul, June 12, 2023 © Jung Yeon-je / AFP

Since the announcement, Jimin released a six-track solo album in March, "Face," whose single "Like Crazy" is the first by a South Korean artist to become No. 1 in the United States. Suga is on his first solo world tour.

What's next?

According to local media, their hiatus could last up to seven years if the band decides to wait until the end of each member's military service before returning to the studios together.

The requirement for the seven artists to join the military slows the global growth of K-pop, their producer, Bang Si-hyuk, said in March, who highlighted the latest figures - including world charts and album sales.

"It remains to be seen how the group will be able to re-form as a seven-member group once their military service is over, as this is usually a difficult time for groups of male artists," Keith said.

But the current pause could be "a period of growth for BTS as a whole, as its members pursue solo projects and add more diversity" to the group, she said.

© 2023 AFP