BTS: Beyond the Scene with the biggest sensation in music 👩🎤
Who are BTS? Why are they famous? + Takeaways for creative teams from their success and the BTS effect on the South Korean economy.
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Does ‘Butter’, ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Spring Day’ remind you of a band? Even if you don’t listen to music that often, there is one name that you have heard of in the past few years.
BTS is the biggest K-Pop group ever in the history of this world and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. But why is there so much hype behind this group? Let’s dive into this!
Who are BTS? 🤔
BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, is a seven member South Korean K-Pop (Korean Pop) boy band that was formed in 2010 and debuted in 2013 under Big Hit Music (previously known as Big Hit Entertainment. The group consists of 7 members - Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook.
BTS debuted their first album in 2013 called 2 Cool 4 Skool. They started off as a hip hop group but their music style has evolved over the years and now includes a wide range of genres. BTS is undoubtedly the best-selling artist in South Korean history, selling more than 20 million albums till date. By 2017, BTS broke into the international music markets and became the most successful K-Pop band in the world.
BTS became the first Korean act to top the Billboard 200 with the album Love Yourself: Tear (2018). BTS repeated this record three more times with their studio albums Love Yourself: Answer (2018), Map of the Soul: Persona (2019) and Map of the Soul: 7 (2020) which made BTS the fastest group since The Beatles to earn four number one albums in less than 2 years.
They also were the first Korean pop artists to be recognised by the Recording Academy when “Dynamite” received a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.
The secret behind their success + what creative teams can learn from them. 🧐
There are many reasons why the music and members of BTS have resonated so heavily with all generations specially the Gen-Z. With the right measure of hard-work, a brilliant supporting team and an ARMY of fans, BTS faced all odds over the last few years and have rightly been crowned the title of the most successful group in the world.
#1 BTS has one of the largest, most diverse and tech-savvy global fan base called ARMY. They have the collective power of pushing content in the viral zone and all of them are very dedicated to the cause.
ARMY stands for Adorable Representative MC for Youth. With more than 100 million fans all over the world, they are one of the largest and most creative fanbases. They make sure that all BTS songs break the streaming records on day one, all BTS videos hit the billion views mark eventually and also ensure that the group wins all the awards that have an element of voting i.e. Billboard awards.
With 31 Million followers on Twitter and 45m followers on Instagram, BTS are the first Korean group that has broken international barriers in terms of fans. Social media has played a huge role in their success which allows the ARMY to stay connected, create content, stream albums, support each other and also contribute to charitable causes. In short, it is a very effective and supportive group of people united by BTS.
How did BTS manage to create such a devoted fanbase? 📷
BTS has been very active in interacting with their fanbase and mostly dedicates all their success to this group of people. Whether it be through their own immaculately organised shows or Instagram live sessions, BTS has inculcated a real sense of community within this group of people. This sense of community further expands to these fans taking active part in campaigns etc.
Diversity. I have personally never seen a fanbase as diverse as BTS’. There are people from all age groups, from all walks of life and from each and every country. BTS fan clubs are run like a network of local chapters that each serve its purpose. Their approach has always been bottom-up which means that these local chapters actually guide BTS with a lot of on-ground information.
Charity and Activism. The ARMY has raised money for various causes in the past and each local chapter pools in resources for these charities. In terms of activism, they did a brilliant job during the Black Lives Matter movement by raising money and spreading awareness. They also booked tickets to a Trump rally and never showed leading to an empty rally. K-Pop fans are now a driving change in the sociopolitical ecosystem and are challenging archaic thinking.
#2 BTS has solved the ‘New World’ puzzle with directing efforts at the Gen-Z with a strategy that gives them a full experience.
BTS is one of the first K-Pop band that has managed to go mainstream and this is due to their strategy that targets various groups, especially the Gen-Z. Their songs have heavy themes of mental health and self-care which are two of the most critical topics for a generation in an ever-changing and broken world. Throwing light on values such as Self-Love, Empathy, Care and Inclusivity, BTS has managed to generate a message that applies to the whole world.
How did they manage to create the full experience? 💬
Experimental. Their music oscillates between a variety of genre such as Pop to Hip Hop to R&B in the various tracks that they release. That with the mix of modern choreography, BTS has managed to make a niche for themselves in the kind of music and videos they deliver. Most of their songs are a mix of Korean and English which gives it a global element.
Creative Freedom. The management at Big Hit give BTS the complete freedom to work on songs and themes that surround them. This allows them to listen to their fanbase and work on things that they would like or expect from them. But that does not stop them from taking risks and experimenting with new music.
Candid with ARMY. BTS has always been very upfront with their fanbase about developments, struggles and problems. This forms a higher level of connection between the Fan, the Artist and the Music which is what artists spend a lifetime to achieve.
Visuals. Perfectly executed shows, stage designs, outfits and choreography give the fans what they see in videos and on TV. Their performances justify the hype around them. They do not shy away from investing in their shows to give the fans the visuals they expect, which in turn helps them generate demand in other avenues.
The BTS Effect on the South Korean Economy 🤑
What happens to your country’s economy and the Music Industry when a powerhouse like BTS starts their reign all over the world:
In 2019, BTS had been estimated to have revitalised the Korean music industry and have a 1%-2% effect upon the entire Korean economy.
They were credited for the surge in popularity of online purchases of K-Pop items and growth of the Korean Wave between 2016 and 2018 by the Korea Customs Service and Korea Foundation.
BTS were one of the major forces responsible for the recovery of the South Korean Music Sector to the levels which were seen before China’s 2016 ban. This led to creation of a lot of jobs not only for BTS but for other K-Pop artists as well.
KB Kookmin Bank savings accounts increased six-fold compared to the prior year following BTS's endorsement.
Stock prices of entertainment companies in South Korea shot up for five days after BTS topped the U.S. Billboard 200.
As of June 2019, BTS's economic effect on South Korea is estimated to be over ₩5.5 trillion ($4.65 billion) per year, about 0.3% of South Korea's GDP. This is comparable to Korean Air, the flagship airline of South Korea, who's percent contribution to South Korea's GDP is 0.7%.
In October 2019, Mattel's international gross sales rose 10% to $721.7 million, lifted by sales of dolls based on BTS.
Hyundai Motor received KR₩600 billion ($502 million) in promotional results after commissioning BTS as their promotional models in 2018.
In December 2018, the Hyundai Research Institute estimated that BTS were worth more than $3.67 billion to the Korean economy each year, attracting one in every thirteen foreigners who visited Korea.
When signed on as tourism ambassadors in 2017, the Seoul Metropolitan Government credits BTS for the recovery of Seoul's shrinking tourism industry, bringing in an average of 790,000 tourists to Korea annually.
After BTS went to Malta for their show, 'Bon Voyage 3', the Malta Tourism Authority reported a 237% increase of Korean tourists visiting the country, crediting BTS as the reason for the increase.
Along with Ariana Grande and Drake, BTS were credited as a key act boosting global music sales to $19 billion in 2018. Such profit had not been seen since 2006 when digital purchases gained momentum.
BTS were again credited, along with The Weeknd, in boosting global music industry revenues to $21.6 billion in 2020 which was the highest figure since 2002.
Various news outlets coined the term the "BTS effect" to refer to the commercial effects of BTS's influence. This is just a small snippet of what they have done in economic terms but gives us enough insight into the kind of influence they hold, both economically and socially. 💰
If you haven’t heard any BTS songs yet, I believe you should definitely give them a shot. Even if the music is not to your taste, it gives you a peek into the minds of a hard-working boy band, a devoted ARMY fanbase and the economics that have the potential to make a big difference to a country’s economy.
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