It was a hectic one-month long parade. After releasing their second album "WINGS" on October 10th, seven-member idol group BTS shook US Billboard chart and many other international music charts. From overseas to Korea, their achievements were bigger than an actual victory. BTS was the first Korean singer to debut at #26 on "Billboard 200" (album chart). Billboard 200 ranks the albums based on the overall quality of the album. and in 2014 girl group 2NE1 set the highest record by ranking at #61. Billboard published several articles focusing on "Bangtan phenomena" and said, "BTS hit a new land for the scene with no songs in English, no U.S promotion.". BTS ranked No. 6 on Youtube Music Global Top 100 Artist chart (October 7th~13th). They scored higher than Australian singer-songwriter Sia (8th) and Ariana Grande (9th).
Is BTS starting a new chapter of K POP in their 4th year? We asked the secret to global popularity to the seven BTS members and Bighit Entertainment CEO Bang Sihyuk who produced the group in Seoul Nonhyeon-dog Practice room.
There were several suitcases lying around BTS's practice room. This proved the busy schedules of 4th-year idol group who travel around the world, competing with global singers. There was a massage chair in one corner of the room. This chair was used by Jimin before we began the interview and they said it was a gift they received from Naver. It was a prize for reaching 3,360,000 followers on Naver V App which also meant they had the most number of followers.
Rap Monster (22), Suga (23), Jin (24), J Hope (22), Jimin (21), V (21), and Jungkook (19). The seven-member group BTS has an extraordinary communication strategy. They show their fans their cool image on stages and they regularly reveal their moments behind the stage. They regularly uploaded short videos, "Bangtan Bomb" ever since their debut days on their Youtube channel. These videos captured the daily lives of members at the waiting room, dorm, playing around at their practice room and the members also spoke about their concerns.
BTS was formed with the concepts like your next door oppa, younger brother, or someone like your friend, "Let's become a hero who people can lean on and not an idol group who is like a fake idol.". Member Suga said, "We didn't exaggerate or hide our personalities, instead we continued uploading our true selves on Youtube and SNS. Our company didn't ask us to create them, we created these videos because we wanted to and we enjoy making them.".
The members have been living together for 7 years since their trainee days and their candid personalities excited the fans from around the world in real time. BTS's "push and pull" skill is outstanding, they're like a celebrity to their fans but they're also like their friends. Rap Monster added, "BTS is the group that benefited the most from media. When we begin our live broadcast on Naver V App, even fans from Brazil can watch us in HQ in real time so I think we have the means to promote globally and not just in Korea.". They chose to build their fandom by communicating with global fans on SNS, taking a step further than their senior K-POP idols who release their songs to the fans around the world via Youtube.
They didn't become popular immediately after their debut. Many people expressed how childish their group name "BTS" sounded. They cowered because they weren't from the big entertainment companies.
"Before our debut, I went to a senior's concert with Suga, Jungkook, and J Hope. The concert was held at Gymnastics Arena in Seoul Jamsil and on our way home after the concert, we all said, "I wouldn't want anything more if we get to perform at such place.". But we did perform at the Arena last May. Our idea turned into a reality." (Rap Monster)
During their early debut days, Suga, Rap Monster, and J Hope were the members who usually created their music. But all members participated in making of their new album. "Inspiring each other" wasn't something they said for the sake of formality. Youngest member Jungkook said, "I began to naturally learn since all of them (older members) make music.". Jimin said, "The older members made me realize that making music is enjoyable.".
BTS's music is a series of storytelling. They released "School trilogy", "Youth trilogy" and other series albums and they picked the story of youth as their topic. They don't just talk about the beauty of youth but they also approached things like "school violence", "entrance exams" and "spine breaker". Suga said, "We tried our best to talk about relatable stories and stories we can share with people around our age.". He continued, "The pain or unstableness of youth, we captured things like the flaws in the present situation.".
Their honest stories worked in the other countries too. In the Billboard column which analyzed BTS's popularity secret, they stated, “The group blends individual artistry, which is what the U.S. audience expects in their music, and the K-pop system, which focuses more on the group sound and teamwork, BTS has something to say, and has a great marketing strategy that doesn’t alienate non-Korean-speaking fans.”.
After their school and youth series, BTS expressed the temptation/conflicts faced by youths in their new album. Their title track "Blood Sweat & Tears" was inspired by Hermann Hesse's novel "Demian". The music video of this song reached 40 million views in just 3 weeks. If so, what could be the biggest temptation faced by BTS who maintains hectic schedule every day? The seven lips replied with one voice. It was the sound of youths in the 20s.
"We don't know if we should get more sleep or we should do something else. Would it be a better idea to sleep 4 hours instead of 5 and then spend an hour cleaning my room? ah, I have to diet too and that's also my concern."
Original article here
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1. Because they are a group that produces music with true meanings, they don't just have an idol fandom. I don't understand why Koreans denigrate them saying they're not popular. There are middle-aged people who recognize BTS. I'm always grateful to you guys for including great songs in your albums and I already trust listening to your music. It was really nice to see you promote hard for a month and I was happy because of your music. I will always support you. +219 -1
2. One of the biggest reason why I started stanning BTS is because of their great music ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ I will do my best to support and repay you. Fighting!! +173 -1
3. BTS~ You guys worked hard and you did well until the last stage~ ARMYs, we shouldn't stop now! We need to continue voting, streaming and watching their music video to increase the views. Let's give them a prize as an end of the year present +136 -1
4. Thank you so so much for always doing your best and for taking care of your fans. Let's stay together forever. I will support you +134 -1
5. BTS, you worked hard!! Thank you for doing your best to create music. Fighting! +128 -1
6. They are a group with healthy thoughts. We could have realized if this is their concept because we've seen them countless times on live broadcasts and videos but there's nothing unnatural about this group and that is why I like them. In my opinion. they are handsome as Koreans. The quality of their music and choreography is daebak and they do their best to give hope and comfort their fans and youths. They have sweet hearts and I think I like them more because they're a group that really tries to do everything sincerely. +31 -0
7. They are a cool team with clear thoughts. I trust listening to BTS's music!! I will support you always~~ +28 -0
8. It's BTS who you trust listening to. +28 -0
9. My singer who I can't praise enough♡ I hope you guys continue to have healthy thoughts and warm hearts like now even when you turn 30 or 40 and forever remain as ARMY's singer♡ +21 -0
10. It's J Hope and not K Hope +21 -0
(I can't find K Hope in the article so I guess the journalist corrected it already? XD)