BTS’ve been number one on iTunes in over 65 countries, have got almost 12 million subscribers on YouTube and are the first K-pop band EVER to top the US album charts.
It’s fair to say, BTS is the K-pop band that is taking over the world.
They are currently on their Love Yourself world tour, which saw the group come to the UK for the very first time this week.
Who are BTS?
BTS are a K-pop (or Korean pop) group made up of seven members – Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook – who come from all over South Korea.
They launched in 2013 and have since rocketed to global stardom.
Over the years, the group have produced material around various themes starting with the ‘School’ trilogy.
This was followed by the ‘Most Beautiful Moment in Life’, ‘Wings’, and most recently, the ‘Love Yourself’ series.
Their latest album ‘Love Yourself: Answer’ stormed to the top of the US charts, which saw South Korean President Moon Jae-in taking to Twitter to congratulate the boys on their success.
BTS is the biggest K-pop group internationally – and it doesn’t look like they’re stopping any time soon.
What is K-pop?
K-pop was first born in South Korea in the 1990s as a mix between Western and Asian music.
It brings together elements of R&B, pop, hip-hop and rap – both in the music and in the way artists are styled.
It is known for its super slick production, edgy and totally amazing music videos.
The eye-catching fashion and super synchronised dance routines are very impressive too.
Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, explains: “These larger than life visuals allow fans who may not understand the language to still understand the music.”
In order to become a successful genre, K-pop needed to go international.
It finally got its breakthrough in 2002, when a young female artist called BoA became number one not only in Korea, but also in Japan.
This helped K-pop to spread across Asia and, eventually, the rest of the world.
Now, the K-pop industry is worth millions of pounds, with bands winning fans all over the world.
There is even a government department for K-pop in South Korea, which gives the musical genre official support because of how culturally and economically beneficial it is to the country.
Since Gangnam Style by Psy broke the internet back in 2012, the genre saw its popularity grow even more. But no band or artist has come even close to the global popularity of BTS.
Why are BTS so successful?
There are four reasons that BTS have become as popular as they have.
- The music
With K-pop growing in popularity, they’re simply making the music that people want to listen to!
According to Billboard, their album ‘Love Yourself: Tear’, which is sung in Korean, became “the first primarily foreign-language No 1 album in over 12 years.”
Not only that, but many people say that the subject of their music has played a part in their success.
While many K-pop songs are about relationships and love, BTS cover subjects that other bands may not like bullying, elitism and mental health.
- Their performance
There’s no point having amazing songs if you can’t sell them to the world – and BTS have got this down to a fine art.
With their slick dance routines and extremely impressive music videos, they’ve attracted a loyal group of fans who have fallen in love with their music even more.
Mr Son, the band’s choreographer, explains: “Music videos seem to be one of the most important factors. Messages from an artist can be delivered more effectively.”
To polish their performances, BTS practice for hours. For their debut performance, they were working at it for 12 to 15 hours a day to get it right. Well, it certainly paid off!
- The internet
The internet – and in particular social media – has played an enormous part in the success of the group.
Suga told BBC Radio 1: “I think we’re so lucky to be born at the right time. Without social media, we wouldn’t have been so successful.”
In 2018, the boys won a Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist, beating huge names like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez.
They were the first K-Pop group to win one.
“We still cannot believe that we are standing here on this stage at the Billboard Music Awards,” the group said in their acceptance speech.
Social media has also allowed the group to connect with their followers on a really personal level and gather fans across the world, including here in the UK.
Not only that, but they also engage with their fans via the internet in a different way to other groups like them.
Unlike many other bands, pop culture expert Kim Hern-sik says BTS are actually managed by quite a small agency and are allowed to do what they want a bit more.
“The boys are granted freedom in interacting with their fans on social media,” she says. “They are really successful because they know how to interact with their fans and I think their popularity is here to stay.”
- The fans
No band can have success without its fans and BTS has some of the most loyal, dedicated fans that the world has EVER seen with 16.5 million followers on Twitter and 13.5 million on Instagram.
Known as the ARMY, it was the fans who cast an unbelievable 300 million online votes to ensure that the group won their Billboard award.
And in Autumn 2017, they watched the video for ‘DNA’ 50 million times on YouTube in just one month!
With numerous pages, profiles and sites set up all over the world by adoring followers, fans spend hours posting content, sending messages and sharing their love for the seven boys.
Three Awesome Facts About BTS
- The boys all live together and apparently Jin does all the cooking.
- The band’s own choreographer Mr Son says that J-Hope is the best dancer.
- What do they like to do to relax? The answer = SLEEP!