No surprise here!
BTS isn’t just the biggest K-pop act on the charts. They’ve become the biggest band in the world—full stop. Between releasing multiple albums, breaking every type of record and appearing in these extemporaneous livestreams in 2020, BTS ascended to the zenith of pop stardom. And they did it in a year defined by setbacks, one in which the world hit pause and everyone struggled to maintain their connections. Other celebrities tried to leverage this year’s challenges; most failed. (Remember that star-studded “Imagine” video?) But BTS’s bonds to their international fan base, called ARMY, deepened amid the pandemic, a global racial reckoning and worldwide shutdowns. “There are times when I’m still taken aback by all the unimaginable things that are happening,” Suga tells TIME later. “But I ask myself, Who’s going to do this, if not us?”
Today, K-pop is a multibillion-dollar business, but for decades the gatekeepers of the music world—the Western radio moguls, media outlets and number-crunchers—treated it as a novelty. BTS hits the expected high notes of traditional K-pop: sharp outfits, crisp choreography and dazzling videos. But they’ve matched that superstar shine with a surprising level of honesty about the hard work that goes into it. BTS meets the demands of Top 40’s authenticity era without sacrificing any of the gloss that’s made K-pop a cultural force. It doesn’t hurt that their songs are irresistible: polished confections that are dense with hooks and sit comfortably on any mainstream playlist.
BTS is not the first Korean act to establish a secure foothold in the West, yet their outsize success today is indicative of a sea change in the inner workings of fandom and how music is consumed. From propelling their label to a $7.5 billion IPO valuation to inspiring fans to match their $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter, BTS is a case study in music-industry dominance through human connection. Once Suga masters the guitar, there won’t be much left for them to conquer. (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)