BTS in the world market

bts entered the mainstream or not?

Have you ever heard BTS even once?

If you’re interested in the area of pop and usually enjoy the songs in the billboard chart, you might heard ‘BTS’, one of the K-pop artists categorized into idol in Korea. BTS is a rising star in the billboard as well as the most popular artist in Korea. But, there are lots of K-pop bands in Korea. Dozens of idol groups are released to the public every year, actually. Then why do they draw such much attention of people in the world, and are we sure that they’re truly recognized band in the mainstream market?


BTS is Korean boy band, who debuted in 2013. They’re made up of 7 boys, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. Though they were not in the spotlight about 2 years after debut, they were drawing K-pop fan’s attentions slowly between overseas fans like other Korean bands.

BTS begun to get popular between the public in Korea thanks to the title ‘I NEED U’ of the 3rd mini album. And now in 2019, they’re not only sweeping all of the grand prizes in awards in Korea but also accomplished the 7th viewed artists globally on Youtube last year.


And finally, they got the prize in the field ‘Top Social Artist’ in the BMAs for two consecutive years.

Most of Koreans were shocked to hear that news and started to wonder why they’re getting famous in USA that is the mainstream in the pop culture.

BTS were invited as a performer to the American Music Awards last year and were on many representative shows in US such as ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’, ‘Good Morning America’ and so on.

Besides last year they held several concerts at Queen’s Citi filed in New York City, which is well-known to have a capacity for 40,000 concertgoer, during their world-tour. Recently the Billboard selected BTS as 8th of the top artists in the world, as well.

By the way, WHY?

Which factors lead to those results?


First of all, music and performance should be prior to other factors for artists. Especially, in case of idol, performance and visual sides like appearance and dance are so important factors to be loved by people. Overseas fans tend to favor in group focusing on powerful choreography, and that’s why BTS are the most mentioned and popular group in overseas fans.

BTS are very well-known for their powerful choreography even between the public from their debut.

You might think that most of K-pop bands regardless of gender are good at performance if you’re interested in K-culture. So some parts of people make a mistake that BTS could succeed only because of SNS strategy.

Actually, in Korea, there are a few idol groups singing on live, and at the same time dancing quite difficult choreography ‘perfectly’. Of course, there are few groups showing wonderful performances and musicality at the same time. You can easily understand this if you watch several videos of their performance.

The important point is that there is no concept, Korean Idol, which I mentioned right above, in US market. The concept of Korean idol can be unfamiliar to general people in the western society and it leads to attract many teenagers and 20’s.

2ND. COMMUNICATION with FANS via social platform

One of the points of difference is their sincere and frequent communication with their fans. They have at least 5 channel to communicate with fans and the public. Does it sound too conventional and normal?

If you operated an entertainment agency, you would struggle with choosing what strategy is effective, between exposing to the public and keeping mysterious so that the value as a star is higher. Before, in order to expose their singers, many agencies made them appear on TV shows as soon as possible. Or in order to act kind of mysterious strategy, bands were made appearances only when they have to promote new albums or agencies uploaded a few videos or photos through a strict meeting inside agencies.

However, fans usually express ‘We’re always falling into flooded contents of BTS.’ The point is that they are not often on TV shows. Then, why are fans saying so? That’s because the agency provide people with self-produced contents on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms collaborated. Adding this, each member upload their behind story after work or daily life everyday on Twitter, official cafe, V-live which is video platform connecting directly stars and fans. For overseas fans, a plenty of materials of BTS can be a way to fall in BTS and keep their passion for BTS.


One of the reason of their success that a journalist or a critic analyze in US is that they keep casting healthy messages to the society. They have sent some messages to the society via ‘music’ since they were debuted. For instance, in the beginning, they sent a message criticizing educational circumstance and result-oriented social climate in Korea and comforting teenagers living in those structure.

Most recently, they released a series of albums named ‘Love Yourself’ and have worked as a ambassador of UNICEF. In these albums they donated certain ration of their profits to Unicef.

BTS joins hands with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

to stage campaigns against violence

toward children and teens
around the world,

with the hope of making the world a better place through music.

Love myself campaign with Unicef

Finally, they made a great speech at the United Nation for UNICEF’s “Generation Unlimited” launch. BTS is the first ever K-pop group to speak at the United Nations. His speech inspired lots of people in the world as well as their fans. And this is what they pursue ultimately through music.

BTS’s speech at UN

Last Question:
Are BTS on the Mainstream?

The answer is that they’ve just entered the mainstream market, but we can predict the upcoming future positively. BTS have enough ability for one section of K-pop to be recognized as the mainstream.

K-pop culture has been considered a part of subculture so far. It has been enjoyed mainly by teenage girls. And ‘Gangnam-style’ by PSY was just a super-syndrome, not sustainable. People tended to go crazy about only a song, not that artist. I think BTS are pretty different with these cases. They have a firm and thick fandom around the world, as we know that from the prize ‘Top Social Artist’ in BMAs. BTS is not a syndrome, but a sort of stream in pop culture. You can see the increasing ranking in both of Billboard charts below. The latest two albums ‘Love yourself: Tear’ and ‘Love yourself: Answer’ reached the top of the chart. If it’s a temporary phenomenon, it won’t have the rising curve in the chart.

What do you think about BTS’s future?