South Korean Pop boy band BTS, fully known as ‘Bangtan Sonyeondan’ (Bulletproof Boy Scouts), began their musical journey in 2010, when they formed the group consisting of 7 members. In 2013, the group was signed by Big Hit Labels, and thus began their ascend to the top.
Backed by the biggest fandom in the K-Popverse, known as ARMY (Adorable Representative MC for Youth) the group holistically tracked gradual international recognition, and little by little, engorged the music scene, both on the east as well as the west.
Their immense success was one no one saw coming. From collaborating with some of the top artists in the music industry like Steve Aoki, Zara Larsson, Chainsmokers, Lauv, Halsey, etc. to making it to the number 1 spot on the biggest music chart in the world (Billboard Hot 100), people woke up one day and wondered if K-Pop could have very well found the little path, to the future of music.
But the question which remained on everyone’s minds, was that how did BTS grow so big so fast and what was it about this one boy band, that made idol worship seem like a stroll in the park?
The answer was simple and laid in the approach BTS decided to take upon establishment.
In 2017, BTS rebranded their name to be an abbreviation of ‘Beyond The Scene’. Although only recently formally accustoming their band name to match everything they stood for, the group had actually always put forth that singular motive, regardless of what they were called.
The main aim Big Hit Labels had envisioned when they needed a boost, was a world where the digital age could bring people together instead of tearing them apart. The vision was simple, straight-forward, and the only thing that was most needed from the boys, was to fashion a strong, lasting and loyal connection with fans.
So, BTS built said connection and against all odds, put their fans first. Their effort to share the many facets of their ever-growing journey - whether business or personal - to the top, was one of the biggest reasons how the band broke through glass ceilings.
Constantly on a mission to create a sense of community, BTS found ways to directly foster a relationship with their fans not only via normal social media platforms like, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, but also other various Korean apps like AfreecaTV, Vlive, Weverse, which allowed fans to indirectly step into the lives of the BTS boys.
Since their big international break in the 2017, there have been a handful of notable pinnacles of success the group has attained: -
1. First K-Pop band to top US album charts
#1 on iTunes for in over 91 countries with their album Map of the Soul: 7
2. First primarily foreign language album to reach #1 in over 12 years
Album - Love Yourself: Tear
3. First K-Pop group to win a Billboard Music Award
Top Social Artist in 2018 (over 300 million online votes by ARMY)
4. Reached 50 million views on YouTube in only a month
5. First K-Pop group to speak at United Nations
Leader RM addressed the UN in September 2018
6. Broke record for pre-order sales
1.5 million for album ‘Love Yourself: Answer’
7. First Korean album to enter the UK album charts
8. First Korean act to perform a US stadium show
New York City 2018, Citi Field
9. First Korean artist to perform at the Billboard Music Awards
2018, and also the first Asian artist to premiere a new song at it
10. First Korean group to perform at the American Music Awards
In 2017, with their hit song ‘DNA’
11. Appeared in the Guinness World Records twice
Record for most ever Twitter engagements
Most viewed song online in under 24 hours – August 2018, ‘Idol’, 45 million views
12. Longest time spent at the top of the US Billboard Social 50 Chart
A popularity chart which ranks the most active musical artists on the world's leading social networking services
13. Third group in 50 years to have three albums on the Billboard 200
The other two were the Monkees and the Beatles
14. First group in Billboard history to spend 5 weeks on the Billboard Artist 100 chart
Spot: Number 1
15. First K-Pop artists to win the Social Artist Award
Barely scratching the surface, and despite coming from a label that wasn’t popular or the big three (SM, JYP, YG), this average boy band brought out the biggest guns they could find and basically took the entire music world by storm.
From simple cooking clips and mundane everyday life, BTS went ahead and paved the way for show stopping performances, iconic music, crazy choreographies, humanitarian acts and an entire ‘army’ of fans who pretty much worshipped the ground they walked on.
Opening the musical doors to the west for all other K-Pop groups after them, and having Korean voices as well as talent be heard and seen on a global stage, BTS in 2020, has indeed very much altered the landscape of music.
But, is BTS the next Beatles? We don’t know, and we can only stick around to see what happens with this superstar boy band. Could they be though? Well, they could, but then again, what would be the point in being the next anyone, except their authentic selves, right?
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