featured image via pinterest
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there is no way you could’ve missed BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, swift ascent to the top of the K-pop hierarchy. Since BTS’s inception four years ago, the seven-member Korean boy band is one of the peninsula’s raising acts breaking records every beat of the way. With their increasing popularity at home and internationally, they have gained momentum as leading K-pop artists since their debut in 2013. BTS solidified their popularity by receiving prestigious awards such as (Daesang) in Korea’s major K-pop award functions such as Artists of the Year from Mnet Asian Music Awards, Album of the Year from Melon Music Awards and also one of the most eminent award of the world, Billboard Music Awards for Top Social Artist.
BTS’s musical style and image ranges from a tough boy image to a more youthful image, nevertheless mainly influenced and based on hip hop and R&B. Throughout their albums and major releases, BTS has delivered a consistent message that actively rejects school bullying and society standards while promoting the individual’s pursuit of happiness. What also sets BTS apart from other K-pop bands is that members produce their own songs and are involved in the composition of their songs. They are also well-trained in dancing and choreograph their own moves.
While K-pop has never been main stream internationally, BTS’s overseas popularity has increased K-pop’s fan base and exposed the world to the K-pop genre. The K-pop movement is undeniable as the band continues to attract fans from all over the globe with their unique blend of hip-hop, electronica and more melodious elements. More notably, they are receiving awards for their work which is confirming K-pop as a true player in the music industry. But their true mark of difference from other K-Pop bands is their passion that exudes in their music, performances, public appearances and social media. They are quickly becoming the symbol of K-Pop internationally and are setting standards for other bands.
2016-17 has been a great year for BTS. The Korean septet headlined major events on both U.S. coasts and all over the world, releasing a bevy of new music in Korea and Japan, and becoming the first ever Asian group to win Billboard Music Award. On 2016 they were the only Korean group to to have their own twitter emoji, the first ever group from a small agency to win Daesang, placed as No.3 out of top 10 most mentioned musicians of the world on Twitter and also No.1 on the top 10 most re tweeted artists world by far dwarfing Kanye West, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Ariana Grande and so on. According to YTN Korean news, BTS is the third generation korean group who changed the a Korean wave. Artistic growth from individual members has continued to boost BTS’ popularity around the globe. Their achievement doesn’t stop even in 2017 as they grab the second place spot for most weeks at the top of Billboard’s Social 50 chart. They also won in the Music category at this year’s Shorty Awards, an award show that recognizes excellence in social media. They also made it into the Fuse’s “20 Best Albums of 2016” list and it doesn’t end there. On 2017, they also sold out their Wings tour in America in only few minutes. BTS also grabbed a spot in the Top five on Billboard’s weekly Current Boxscore Chart for their “The Wings Tour – 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III” show in Sydney, Australia at the Qudos Bank Arena on May 26, 2017. The concert brought in gross sales of $2,054,650, and filled 11,023 seats out of the venue’s 11,424 capacity.
The group also released their latest album “You Never Walk Alone” on 2017 with their 2 music videos “Not Today” and “Spring Day”. “Not today” holds the record for the fastest K-pop group music video to reach 10 million and 20 million views. Their recent album also was previously at No. 1 following its release in February, and has spent a total of 12 weeks on the chart overall. BTS has now also become the only Kpop group to have omost views on You Tube. According to statistics calculated through Google and YouTube Insights, the group boasts a total of over 4.2 billion views. This includes music videos, behind-the-scenes, dance practice videos, and more of the fun content shared through their channels.
BTS’s popularity is even more impressive because they are represented by a small label Big Hit Entertainment and compete with well-known companies like YG Entertainment (Big Bang, PSY) and SM Entertainment (Girls Generation, Shinee, Exo) that have a monopoly on the industry. Along with being one of the only groups to tour outside of Asia frequently, BTS has gone out of their way to interact with their global fan base by not only updating their Twitter accounts but also they’ve taken advantage of the popularity of live-streaming videos. Each of the members interacts with fans through regular live streams, with English subtitles for international audiences. BTS’ accessibility has helped fans connect with them from all over the world through their personalities just as much as through their music, resulting in one of K-pop’s largest fandoms.
BTS’ “WINGS” confirmed their popularity when it appeared as highest-charting and best-selling K-pop album in the U.S., as BTS jumped bounds ahead of previous Billboard 200-charting K-pop acts. They were also the first K-pop artists to enter to the UK Album Chart. The group outsold albums by 2NE1 and EXO, who held the ranking in 2014 and 2015. After few hours of release of Wings, the album managed to hit No.2 on the Australian iTunes Chart too thus earning their new nickname, “The Next PSY” by KBS News for their undeniably commendable Global Achievements.
After only four years in the K-pop, BTS is not only succeeding fiercely in the industry, but setting a standard for all the bands that will come after them. They also blend individual artistry, which is what the global audience expects in their music, and the K-pop system, which focuses more on the group sound and teamwork. They let out their feelings with their songs that make them and the listeners closer to each other. This septet has something to convey, and has a great marketing strategy that doesn’t alienate non-Korean-speaking fans. Their souls are in their performances because they helped to create them—an investment that makes all the difference between memorizing dance routines like a marionette, and embracing them with passionate, authentic joy. Watching BTS break records and never stopping undoubtedly indicates that they are changing the shape of K-pop in the upcoming days for better and that they have rightfully earned to place their names in the history of K-pop.