When the newest Billboard singles top chart was announced a week ago, the South Korean boy band BTS ranked number one again and was the championship with the single "Dynamite." It reached a brand new record: they were the first Asian singers to win the "Empty Crown" award and the second Asian singer to win a single album.
Last week, BTS's new single "Dynamite" kept a consecutive spot at the top of the Billboard singles top chart with an outstanding amount of 182,000 downloads, 17.5 million streams, and 16 million radio views during the second week of release, making history for K-pop.
Is BTS popular in Europe and America?
In most cases, you will get two answers to this question. One is the BTS fans' answer: they are super popular in Europe and North America. And the other answer is that the boy band is only popular in the K-pop fan community because their fans are great in marketing and sharing everything about BTS on social media.
BTS is currently the most popular male idol K-pop group globally, dominating many countries' music charts and culture. Within a year, they are the first group to beat the Beatles, earning three number 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart. As they win over the records and gain popularity, jealousy and stereotypes arise.
Many people in the Western Culture who are not fans of BTS would commonly critique BTS, be racist towards them, and comment on stereotypes of Asians. Many will even attack them, saying they are breaking the frame of Western culture, or how they are just pretty boys.
However, pop music is changing. Before the 2000s, Kpop was barely around, and pop music was always around in the US. Nowadays, though, many people in Western culture knows and is affected by Kpop, starting from Gangnam Style and now to BTS. BTS broke the stereotypes for Asians in the Western culture, where many accept them now and are even fans.
BTS is changing and globalizing the world in a positive way, including having fans called the ARMY and uniting people with similarities. They motivate and empower youth and are not just a bunch of boys who knows how to sing and dance.
Also, BTS just proved that criticism wrong with their new single album Dynamite and their history of records:
The four most viewed videos on BigHit (BTS) channel are "Boy with Luv" (691 million), "Fake Love" (579.6 million), "IDOL" (537.7 million), and Dynamite (319.1 million).
And this time, "Dynamite", following "DNA", "Boy With Luv (Feat.Halsey)", "FAKE LOVE", "IDOL", "MIC Drop Remix", "FIRE", "Blood Sweat and Tears" , "Miss", "Save ME", "Not Today", "Man", "Kasuga", the 13th MV with 300 million views.
On September 1, the British Guinness World Records publicly stated through the official website that: "BTS broke the YouTube broadcast record with "Dynamite."
According to the Guinness World Records: "BTS "Dynamite" MV was officially listed as the most-viewed YouTube video in 24 hours', 'The most view YouTube music video in 24 hours,' and 'The most-viewed YouTube MV in 24 hours by a K-POP group'— in 3 categories.
As for the rise of BTS, which many haters critique about, their data relies on female fans to help them promote and create more fans. But here in the BTS Bangtan TV channel, as you can see in the fan portraits, there is not much difference in the ratio of male and female fans, where male is 48%, and female is 52%, the 38 percent fans are in the United States, while 11 percent is in the UK.
And the performance of the data for their tours is even better!
The tours allowed them to gain a fan base in Europe and America.
The 2019 BTS Global Tour is third in the world at the box office. Judging from the "Speak Yourself" BTS tour in Europe and America last year, there were two performances each in Los Angeles Rose Bowl, Chicago Military Field, and New Jersey MetLife Stadium, with a total of 6. The number of people is 299,770 in the LA Rose Bowl, where the capacity is 113,040. The box office of 16,557,515 US dollars also broke the venue record.
As for the Wembley Stadium in London and the France Stadium in Paris, each stadium has two performances with 4, resulting in 221,911 people at their concerts. The number of people in the Allianz Stadium Concert in São Paulo, Brazil, was 84,728.
From the number of people at concerts and the number of concerts, it can be seen that BTS had a total of 12 concerts in North America, South America, and Europe last year. The total number of people at the 12 concerts was 606,409, with more than 50,000 people per show.
If someone argues that the data from these concerts are from fans "crazily swiping and buying tickets," then I would like to ask these people--how would you "swipe" (buy a lot) real money and real concert tickets? This is not only Southeast Asia(deeply influenced by Japanese and Korean culture) but the world, including Europe and the United States, in the mainstream music battlefield. This also reflects from the side that the amount of YouTube fans above is also absolutely true because BTS is really and genuinely popular in Europe and the United States!
"Dynamite" has a total of 300k sales (265k digital sales + 35k vinyl tape) from its first week, 33.9M US streaming media, and 11.6M radio data. Becoming the third men's group to win the B chart after the Smith Spaceship and the Jonas brothers, and also the 43rd single of the B chart since the establishment of the B chart. It also surpassed 265k digital sales in the first week of release since Taylor's "Look what you made me do" in 2017. At the same time, BTS has won 4 consecutive albums on the Billboard 200 album chart.
From Free performances to Multiple Champions on Billboard Top Charts
A lot of BTS fans still remembered the trip of BTS to the United States in 2014. Who would have thought that BTS would hand out flyers to the by-passers for a free performance would come this far? The results today took them six years.
Last time, the public's impression of an Asian entering the B list should still be "Gangnam Style" of PSY, who was still in YG many years ago. That year, PSY had the competitor of "One More Night" by Maroon 5, and due to the temporary "revision of the rules" on the list, PSY was ranked second for a long time. And this time, BTS is also fighting from the rules, they are not from a large company, but they gradually developed and grew in a small company. They did not immediately cooperate with well-known European and American producers or sign a contract with European and American companies when entering the European and American markets. Relying on their own-made music and strength to rise step by step, they have obtained much more valuable results.
If you've listened to BTS's songs, you know why BTS can stand out in the competitive KPOP world. BTS is one of the few KPOP groups that produces and makes its own songs and albums. The work of presenting someone else's production can only make oneself fall into the curse of homogeneity with others. In this era of streaming media, only making music with one's own attitude, can it be heard by more people.
The BTS's serious artistic perspective pours their soul and spirit into their works. From squeezing out time out of busy practices and announcement schedules to participate in the creation, integrating their emotions into their work. The good, the bad, the sad, the unwilling, all into music. Incorporating art into their life, expressing the problems faced by a generation, standing with the audience, singing their thoughts and feelings(have you found that BTS rarely singing love songs)... all of that won the hearts and approval of people and fans, where they make art from life, and ultimately integrates it into their lives. And BTS themselves are not stuck with one style; they seek multiple styles.
This is the reason why BTS can bring anticipations and surprises every time they return because you never know what style they will bring when they return. This is why they can grab more people's attention every time.
With the rapid development of mobile data and streaming media (from YouTube to Spotify and TikTok), it has completely changed the traditional physical sales + radio + downloaded music and distribution method, which is also sending us a signal: Europe and the United States, the music-led mainstream music market/list has been challenged by different voices from all over the world.
Due to the development of streaming media, the audience's aesthetics has gradually become diversified. This is no longer the era when thousands of people were rushing to buy the new albums of The Beatles or Michael Jackson. All the music exists on the Internet now, and many are willing to try new tastes of music. People who has the MP3 have become antiques.
With the advent of the recommendation mechanism, typified music is gradually produced. In the future music market, more and more different voices will be heard by everyone. Two years ago, the Spanish style title and song brought out by "Despacito" still has a very strong effect on the music world. BTS's "Dynamite" has allowed more people to hear voices from Asia. Can we imagine that in the future, we will also hear more voices from Asia?