You may or may not have heard of BTS, the Korean pop group phenomenon. Do you know why they are so successful and why so many people talk about them?
Who are they?
BTS are a South Korean boy group with seven members: Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. They started in 2013 and their popularity has risen greatly since then. Their most recent release “Love Yourself: Answer” rose to the top of the US charts and the South Korean president Moon Jae-In posted on Twitter to congratulate the boys. They are the biggest Korean group internationally.
Why are they so successful?
BTS produce music which appeals to many audiences. While most Korean groups have songs that are about love or relationships, BTS touch on other topics such as mental health, bullying, and elitism, which are social issues in South Korea. BTS’ performances are also very lively and bright which one of the reasons why they have such a large fan base. BTS have many fans all around the world and even sold out two concerts at the O2 arena on the 9th and 10th of October for their “Love Yourself World Tour”.
What is their fan base like?
The name of the BTS fandom is ARMY, which has two meanings. One meaning was that their Korean name (방탄소년단) meant “Bulletproof Boy scouts” so their fans are the “ARMY” and they have previously mentioned that it stands for “Adorable Representative MC for Youth”. BTS has some of the most loyal and dedicated fans with 16.5 million followers on Twitter and 13.5 million followers on Instagram. Their fans dedicate themselves to the group by creating accounts, posting about them, attending their concerts, and buying their official merchandise.
Why should you check them out?
BTS have not always been a hugely successful group and only achieved their first award on a Korean music show in 2015, around two years after their debut. They’ve worked hard to achieve so much over the past few years and they have become very influential. Recently BTS made a speech to the United Nations, with their leader speaking about overcoming insecurities and the fact that young people are trying to overcome them too. “I was lucky that I didn’t give it all up,” he said, “I’m Kim Nam-Joon and also RM of BTS. I am an idol and I’m an artist from a small town in Korea. Like most people I’ve made many and plenty of mistakes in my life. I have many faults and I have many more fears, but I'm going to embrace myself as hard as I can...I'm starting to love myself gradually just little by little." His speech urged people to love themselves just like their most recent release of the “Love Yourself” series.
What is their music like?
BTS tend to touch on social matters such as elitism, which is an issue in South Korea. Korean music is starting to grow internationally and BTS are making music which appeals to the world, even if most of the lyrics are in Korean. Fans can see the meaning behind the lyrics as they are uploaded online, but even if they do not want to they can still enjoy the melodies, vocals, and raps of the group.
When BTS perform, most of their songs have an impressive choreography to them and fans enjoy watching their performances and even learning the dances themselves. Their music videos also have stories behind them and they engage many fans who are interested in writing or reading theories. They also tend to have a really great production and their music videos are very captivating. Mr Son, the group's choreographer, explained: "Music videos seem to be one of the most important factors. Messages from an artist can be delivered more effectively."