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The group initially formed as teenagers under Big Hit Entertainment and released their debut single album, 2 Cool 4 Skool (2013). Subsequent work such as their first U.S. Billboard 200 entries The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 (2015), The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever (2016), and Wings (2016) helped establish BTS' reputation as a socially conscious group. Wings became BTS' first album to sell one million copies in South Korea. By 2017, BTS crossed into the international music market, leading the Korean Wave into the United States and breaking numerous sales records, becoming the first Korean group to receive a certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with their single "Mic Drop." The band is the first and only Korean act as of 2019 to top the U.S. Billboard 200 with their studio album Love Yourself: Tear (2018) and have since hit the top of the U.S. charts with their albums Love Yourself: Answer (2018) and Map of the Soul: Persona (2019), making BTS the first group since The Beatles to earn three number one albums in less than a year. Love Yourself: Answer also broke South Korea's Gaon Album Chart's all-time monthly record previously set by Love Yourself: Tear and became the first Korean album certified Gold in the United States.
In 2018, BTS had the second and third best-selling albums worldwide and were the second best-selling artists worldwide. In 2019, Map of the Soul: Persona became the best-selling album in Korean history, and BTS became the best-selling artist in South Korea of all time, having sold over fourteen million albums.The group won Top Social Artist three years in a row and Top Duo/Group at the 26th Billboard Music Awards. Time magazine has named the band one of the 25 most influential people on the internet, featured them on their international cover as "Next Generation Leaders," and named them one of Time 100's most influential people of 2019. Forbes Korea Power Celebrity has named BTS the most influential celebrities of Korea in 2018. BTS are worth more than $4.65 billion to South Korea's economy each year, attracting one in every 13 foreign tourists that visit the country, and are cited as one of the key acts boosting global music sales to $19 billion in 2018, a figure not seen since 2006 after digital purchases gained momentum.
Following their philanthropic efforts in their Love Myself anti-violence campaign in partnership with UNICEF, BTS addressed the United Nations 73rd General Assembly and became the youngest ever recipients of the Order of Cultural Merit from the President of South Korea due to their contributions in spreading Korean culture and language.
- RM, birth name: Kim Nam-joon (김남준, September 12, 1994 (age 24)) – leader, main rapper
- Jin (진), birth name: Kim Seok-jin (김석진, December 4, 1992 (age 26)) – vocalist, visual
- Suga (슈가), birth name: Min Yoon-gi (민윤기, March 9, 1993 (age 26)) – lead rapper
- J-Hope (제이홉), birth name: Jung Ho-seok (정호석, February 18, 1994 (age 25)) – main dancer, lead rapper, sub vocal
- Jimin (지민) birth name: Park Ji-min (박지민, October 13, 1995 (age 23)) – main dancer, lead vocalist
- V (뷔) birth name: Kim Tae-hyung (김태형, December 30, 1995 (age 23)) – vocalist, lead dancer, visual
- Jungkook (정국), birth name: Jeon Jung-kook (전정국, September 1, 1997 (age 21)) – main vocalist, center, lead dancer, sub-rapper, maknae
The group's name, BTS, is an acronym for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan (Hangul: 방탄소년단; Hanja: 防彈少年團), literally meaning "Bulletproof Boy Scouts". The name was conceptualized with the thought that BTS would block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim on adolescents like bullets and protect the values and ideals of today’s adolescents. In Japan, they are known as Bōdan Shōnendan (防弾少年団), which translates similarly. On July 2017, BTS announced that in addition to being known as Bangtan Sonyeondan or Bulletproof Boy Scouts, the acronym would also stand for "Beyond The Scene" as part of their new brand identity. This extended their name to mean "growing youth BTS who is going beyond the realities they are facing, and going forward."
BTS' first members were recruited through Big Hit's "Hit it" auditions in 2010 and 2011. The original lineup went through several changes before the final group of members was established in 2012. Half a year prior to debut, the members began building their name and creating a relationship with fans through Twitter, video blogs, fancafe posts, and by releasing various song covers via YouTube and SoundCloud.
Before debuting in 2013, RM was already performing as an underground rapper and had released several tracks informally, including a collaboration with Zico. Jin had been a student at Konkuk University, majoring in acting, before being streetcast for auditions, while Suga was an underground rapper in Daegu. J-Hope, who was part of a street dance team named NEURON, was active in the underground dancing scene, participating in various battles and competitions. Before joining Big Hit, Jimin entered Busan High School of Arts as the top student in modern dance, but later transferred to Korea Arts High School with V, who auditioned in Daegu. Jungkook was cast by multiple agencies after leaving auditions for Superstar K, but eventually chose Big Hit after seeing Rap Monster's rap.
2013–2014: Debut and moderate success
The group's debut single album 2 Cool 4 Skool, the first installment in their "school trilogy" series, was released simultaneously with its lead single "No More Dream" on June 12, 2013. While the album peaked at number five on the Gaon Album Chart and sold over 105,000 copies, "No More Dream" and the subsequent single "We Are Bulletproof Pt.2" were not major hits. Expanding their endeavors into Japan, "No More Dream" was later re-recorded in Japanese and released on June 4, 2014.
The second part to the "school trilogy" was the extended play O!RUL8,2?, released on September 11, 2013, which sold over 120,000 copies to date and peaked at number four. Its supporting singles "N.O" and "Attack on Bangtan" (Korean: 진격의 방탄; Revised Romanization: Jingyeogui Bangtan) failed to chart high. That same month, BTS starred in their own variety show, SBS-MTV's Rookie King Channel Bangtan, based on a fake broadcast station, "Channel Bangtan", through which members parodied variety shows such as VJ Special Forces and MasterChef Korea. At the end of the year, BTS was recognized with several New Artist of the Year awards, including the 2013 Melon Music Awards and Golden Disc Awards and the 2014 Seoul Music Awards.
The last act to their "school trilogy", Skool Luv Affair (2014) topped the Gaon Chart and sold over 200,000 copies. It also peaked at number three on Billboard's World Albums Chart. The album was supported by the singles "Boy in Luv" (Korean: 상남자; RR: Sang-namja) and "Just One Day" (Korean: 하루만; RR: Haruman). That June, BTS participated as judges for a K-pop cover dance competition in the Bridge to Korea festival in Russia, an event that aimed to promote tourism between the two countries, where they also performed on stage. In August, the group also attended KCON in Los Angeles. That same month, they released their first Korean studio album, Dark & Wild, which peaked at number two on the Gaon Chart and sold over 200,000 copies. It was supported by two singles: "Danger" and "War of Hormone" (Korean: 호르몬 전쟁, RR: Horeumon Jeonjaeng).
Their Japanese studio album, Wake Up (2014), released that December, peaking at number three on the weekly Oricon Albums Chart and selling 25,000 copies. Along with re-recorded Japanese versions of older songs, it also contained the original tracks "Wake Up" and "The Stars". Their first concert tour, 2014 BTS Live Trilogy Episode II: The Red Bullet, was held from October to December.
2015–2016: Mainstream breakthrough and commercial success
At the beginning of 2015, BTS toured Japan for the first time with their BTS's First Japan Tour-Wake Up: Open Your Eyes. They also held their second solo concert in Korea, BTS Live Trilogy – Episode 1: BTS Begins. Their third EP, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 (2015), was released that March and was the only Korean album to be included in Fuse's list of the "27 Best Albums of 2015 So Far" that year. The lead single "I Need U" was a top five hit on the weekly Gaon Digital Chart in South Korea and garnered BTS their first ever music show win on SBS MTV's The Show. Although the second single, "Dope (Korean: 쩔어; RR: Jjeoreo)", peaked at number 44 on the weekly Gaon Digital Chart, its music video became BTS' first to accrue over 100 million views on YouTube in October. "Dope" later peaked at number three on Billboard's World Digital Songs Chart. The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 have sold over 300,000 copies to date.
On March 17, 2015, the group's leader RM (then known as Rap Monster) released his first solo mixtape, the eponymous RM, for free on the streaming service SoundCloud. The mixtape was ranked 48th on the "50 Best Hip Hop Albums of 2015" list published by Spin Magazine.
BTS' fourth Japanese single, "For You", was released that June to celebrate the first anniversary of their Japanese debut. The single topped Oricon's daily chart, selling over 42,000 copies within its first day. They also commenced their 2015 Live Trilogy Episode: The Red Bullet world tour, and participated in the Summer Sonic Festival tour in Japan.
During their three-day The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: On Stage tour, the group performed the new song "Run", the lead single for the EP The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 later released on November 30, 2015. The album topped the weekly Gaon Album and Billboard World Albums charts and remained atop the latter for multiple weeks, making BTS the first K-pop act to achieve that feat. It also peaked at number 171 on the Billboard 200 Chart with over 5,000 copies. At the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards, they received the Best World Performer in recognition of their international fanbase.
The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 and Part 2 were later combined into the The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever (2016) edition, and was supported by three singles: the top 40 hit "Epilogue: Young Forever", the top 10 hit "Fire" (Korean: 불타오르네; RR: Bultaoreune), and the top 20 hit "Save Me". A two-day concert at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul was held in May to support the album, followed by their Asia tour. The group also headlined both US KCON shows held that year in New Jersey (June) and Los Angeles (July), to sold out audiences. Young Forever later won Album of the Year at the year-end Melon Music Awards, becoming the group's first major grand prize (daesang).
On September 7, 2016, BTS released their second Japanese studio album Youth, selling over 44,000 copies on its first day of release and ranking number one in Japan. Japanese editions of "I Need U" and "Run" were released as singles. Meanwhile, back in their home country, pre-orders for the group's second Korean studio album, Wings, released that October, accumulated over 500,000 copies within the first week. The lead single "Blood Sweat & Tears" achieved an "all-kill" in South Korea, becoming their first number one hit on the weekly Gaon Digital Chart. Its music video gained over 6 million views within 24 hours, breaking the previous record held on YouTube for the highest number of views of a K-pop group music video within 24 hours. They later won Artist of the Year at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards, becoming the first artist not from a "Big Three" entertainment company (SM, YG and JYP) to do so.
2017: You Never Walk Alone, Love Yourself: Her, and international recognition
In early 2017, BTS embarked on their BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour. That February, pre-orders for the repackaged edition of Wings, entitled You Never Walk Alone, reached over 700,000 copies. The lead single "Spring Day" (Korean: 봄날; RR: Bomnal) topped eight of the major South Korean online music charts, as well as Gaon, and crashed Melon's digital chart due to the high influx of user traffic. It also entered the US Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at number 15 with "zero promotions".
On July 5, 2017, Big Hit Entertainment and BTS revealed a new logo for the band in a video released on the official YouTube channel. This video was accompanied by the announcement that in addition to being known as Bangtan Sonyeondan or Bulletproof Boy Scouts, their acronym would also stand for "Beyond The Scene" as part of their new brand identity. Also they gave A.R.M.Y (their fandom) a logo, which looks opposite to theirs.
Their fifth EP, Love Yourself: Her (2017), was released that September and featured music from The Chainsmokers' Andrew Taggart for the track "Best of Me". The lead single "DNA" peaked at number two on the weekly Gaon Chart, while its music video reached over 20 million views on YouTube, breaking the record for most viewed K-pop group music video within the first 24 hours. "DNA" also became the group's first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 85, making BTS the first K-pop boy band to do so and the second Korean act with a Korean-language song. When "DNA" rose to number 67, it became the highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 for a K-pop group, beating Wonder Girls' previous record at number 76. A remix for their song, "MIC Drop", by Steve Aoki and Desiigner was released as the second single, peaking at number 23 in South Korea and number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first top 40 entry for a K-pop group on the chart. "DNA" and "MIC Drop" were later released as a triple-A side single in Japan with the new song "Crystal Snow” which topped the Oricon Chart, becoming the highest-selling single from a K-pop artist within a week, and making BTS the first foreign artist to achieve this.
In November 2017, the group became the first K-pop group to perform at the American Music Awards. Following the performance, Guinness World Records announced that BTS will be included their 2018 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world's most Twitter engagements and specifically for most Twitter engagements by a music group. BTS was also named by Twitter to be the most tweeted-about artist of 2017, and ranked 1st worldwide in yearly social media engagements with 502 million likes and retweets.
They won their second Artist of the Year at the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards, becoming the first act to win the award two years in a row. "Spring Day" later won Best Song of the Year at the Melon Music Awards. That December, they performed on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve to welcome the new year, making them the first K-pop group to be part of the show's lineup. They also made their Japanese TV music show debut on TV Asahi's Japan Music Station Super Live on December 22.
On December 12, BTS was represented on six of the Billboard "Year End" Charts. The group ranked No. 1 on the "World Albums Artists" chart, No. 2 on the "World Albums" chart, No. 1 on the "Social 50 Artists" chart, No. 2 on the "Top Artists – Duo/Group" chart, and No. 32 on the "Independent Albums" chart. They also ranked as No. 10 on the "Top Artists" chart and are the only K-pop artists to have made the list.
2018: Hope World, album certification, and international accolades
In January 2018, the Recording Industry Association of Japan announced BTS' first ever Double Platinum certification for their "MIC Drop/DNA/Crystal Snow" single, the only single album by a foreign artist in 2017 to sell over 500,000 copies and receive certification on the Oricon chart for that year. Later that month, BTS became the first artist outside of the "Big Three" to win both Grand Prize Daesang awards at the Golden Disc Awards and the Seoul Music Awards respectively. In February, both the "MIC Drop" and "DNA" singles were certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, making BTS the first Korean act, and the only K-pop artist ever, to receive this.
On February 8, Big Hit won the award for its new Brand Identity (BI) with BTS' logo under the Corporate Identity/Branding category within Communication Design at this year's award presentation, illustrating BTS' worldwide influence.
On February 11, sales for Love Yourself: Her surpassed 1.58 million, the highest sales recorded for an album in Gaon Chart history.
Suga's mixtape, Agust D, was released unannounced on Spotify and iTunes worldwide for the first time on February 22, over 2 years since its original release. Within 24 hours, the album reached No. 1 on the worldwide iTunes charts and the iTunes Pop Charts. The following week, the album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard World Albums chart dated March 3, 2018.
On March 2, 2018, J-Hope released his first solo mixtape titled Hope World for free download on Google Drive, streaming on Spotify and SoundCloud, and for purchase on iTunes. The accompanying music video for the title track, "Daydream", reached 1 million likes in 1 hour 43 minutes, making it the fastest Korean video to reach the benchmark. With 73 No. 1 spots on the iTunes chart worldwide by the end of its first day, Hope World tied with the previous BTS release, Love Yourself: Her, for the most No. 1 spots held by a Korean album on iTunes within the first 24 hours. As of March 5, the album remained at No. 1 on the iTunes Worldwide Charts, marking 5 days at No. 1 and breaking the record for the longest-charting Korean album at No. 1 on the chart previously held by Love Yourself: Her. The album debuted at No. 63 on the Billboard 200 Chart, making J-Hope the highest-charting solo K-pop act in Billboard 200 history. J-Hope also debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Emerging Artists chart, where fellow band mates RM and Suga (as Agust D) both previously peaked at No. 46.
The music video for "DNA" reached 300 million views on March 6, 2018, making it only one of 3 K-pop videos to reach the benchmark and the fastest video to do so to date. The video reached 300 million views in 5 months and 16 days, breaking the previous record of 13 months and 28 days by "TT" by TWICE.
On March 11, BTS won both the "Best Fan Army" and "Best Boy Band" awards at the 2018 iHeartRadio Awards held in California, although the group declined to attend the event due to a busy schedule as they prepare for their upcoming album release later this year.
An original documentary series, entitled Burn the Stage, that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the group's 2017 Wings Tour was officially announced on March 13. Consisting of eight episodes, it will premiere exclusively on YouTube Red and run from March 28 to May 9.
On April 4, 2018, their third Japanese studio album Face Yourself was released. Face Yourself topped the Japanese Oricon Weekly Album Chart for the week of April 2, with 282,000 copies. According to Japan's Oricon Chart on April 12, BTS' 3rd Japanese album sold 282,000 copies in the first week (April 2-April 8). This breaks the record by KARA, who sold 275,000 copies of their Japanese album 'Super Girl' in the first week of November 2011.
On April 5, 2018 at midnight KST, Big Hit released a video titled “Euphoria: Theme of LOVE YOURSELF 起 Wonder”, on their official YouTube channel. The clip appears to dub the band’s upcoming album, for the 'Love Yourself' series, a follow-up to last year’s record-breaking EP Love Yourself: Her, it is believed to mark the beginning of a new era for the group, following the trend of previous BTS comebacks, though Big Hit Entertainment denies such claims.
On April 17, BTS were nominated again for Top Social Artist at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, making them the first and only Korean artist to be nominated two years in a row. The following week, they were announced as performers at the show where they will premiere their new comeback single.
BTS has set a new record for stock pre-orders for their upcoming album “Love Yourself: Tear.” According to iriver, the company handling the distribution of BTS’s new album, “Love Yourself: Tear” has reached a total of 1,449,287 stock pre-orders as of April 24. This is the total number of stock pre-orders made by wholesale dealers and retailers in Korea, and does not include stock pre-orders made by international retailers.
BTS released a video titled "LOVE YOURSELF Tear 'Singularity' Comeback Trailer" on May 6 at midnight KST in advance of the release Love Yourself: Tear on May 18. The video features V as the solo vocalist for the track, his second solo track for the group and first as an album intro track singer. Within one hour and 29 minutes of its release, the music video reached 1 million likes on YouTube, making it the fastest BTS video to reach this milestone. Having surpassed the record of 8 hours set by "DNA", this also made "Singularity" the fastest music video ever to reach 1 million likes. Following the release of the "Singularity" video, BTS' choreographer Son Sung Deuk declared V to be a member of the "Dance Line" on his Instagram account, placing V alongside Jungkook and Jimin as the groups' Main Dancers under J-Hope as the Lead Dancer.
Love Yourself: Tear was released worldwide on Friday, May 18 on all streaming and download services.The music video for the title track, FAKE LOVE, was released simultaneously and broke the world record for the fastest music video to reach 1 million likes by reaching the milestone in just 39 minutes. This broke the previous record of 1 hour and 29 minutes previously set by their song Intro: Singularity.
On May 21 at 12:30 a.m. KST, “Fake Love” achieved a perfect all-kill on iChart, the group’s first. A perfect all-kill (PAK) means that the song is in first place on the six major realtime and daily charts (Melon, Genie, Bugs, Mnet, Naver, and Soribada), as well as first place on the realtime and weekly charts for Instiz’s iChart.
On May 20, BTS was awarded the Top Social Artist Award at the 2018 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas, having captured 94% of the overall fan vote.
On May 27, BTS became the first K-pop act in charts history to top the Billboard 200 as the group's Love Yourself: Tear opened at Number One. The album sold 135,000 album-equivalent units (including 100,000 pure album sales), becoming BTS' highest-charting and first number one album in the US, the first K-pop album to top the US albums chart, and the highest-charting album by an Asian act. "FAKE LOVE" peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 that same week, becoming the band's highest reaching song on the chart as well as their first in the top ten. Overall, "Fake Love" is the seventeenth non-English song to reach the top ten, and the first for a K-Pop group. The single also debuted at number seven on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart with 27.4 million streams earned in the week ending May 24, giving BTS its first top ten on the chart and making “Fake Love” the first K-pop song to land on top ten since Psy’s “Hangover” feat. Snoop Dogg in 2014. Love Yourself: Tear also reached number eight on the UK Albums Chart, marking the group's first top ten album in the country.
On July 17, the group announced the release of their second compilation album Love Yourself: Answer for August 24, 2018, with seven new tracks added to the release. Their 2018 world tour, titled BTS World Tour: Love Yourself, began the following day in Seoul. For the final stop of the North American leg, the band will perform at Citi Field, marking the first time a Korean act has performed at a U.S. stadium. All 40,000 tickets for the stadium date were later confirmed by Big Hit Entertainment to have sold out in under 20 minutes. On August 24, 2018, the album was released, along with the music video for "IDOL" and an alternative version of the track featuring Nicki Minaj. Debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200, the album became BTS' second number-one album—their second of 2018—and their highest sales week in the country to date. It earned 185,000 album-equivalent units, which comprises 141,000 in pure album sales, 25,000 SEA units (39.01 million on-demand audio streams of the album's songs) and 19,000 TEA units. Making BTS the only K-pop act with two Billboard 200 toppers and the first pop act with two number one albums in less than a year since One Direction topped the chart with Four in 2014, which followed their 2013 album Midnight Memories. In Canada, "Love Yourself: Answer" became the band's first number-one album on the Canadian Albums Chart, earning over 10,000 consumption units. The single from the album, "IDOL", reached number five on the Canadian Singles Chart, marking BTS' first top-ten hit in Canada.
On September 19, BTS was invited to attend the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. According to UN sources, BTS will be attending the launch of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)’s “Generation Unlimited” partnership that will take place on September 24 at 12 p.m. local time at the UN Headquarters in New York, a day before the general debate will begin. “Generation Unlimited” is a new global partnership that is “dedicated to increasing opportunities and investments for children and young people aged 10 to 24.” BTS is said to have been noted by the United Nations for their UNICEF campaign called “Love Myself,” which launched in October 2017 and has raised over 1 million dollars as of June 2018. A UN diplomat expressed how exceptional it is for a K-pop artist to be invited to attend one of UN General Assembly’s regular sessions. Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, South Korean First Lady Kim Jung Sook, and several others are expected to attend. 
On October 14, 2018 they performed at the Korea-France Friendship Concert in Paris, a summit meant to show the friendly relations between France and South Korea. Around 400 officials attended the meeting, including South Korean president Moon Jae-in.
On October 18, Big Hit Entertainment sent an email to its company employees and stakeholders announcing that BTS had renewed their contract with the agency. According to the email, the renewed contract is 7 years in length.
On October 20, RM announced via BTS' twitter to announce the release date for his second mixtape titled mono with the tracklist and a message "RM's playlist 'mono.' 10/23". RM describes mono as a playlist, though some publications have referred to it as a "mixtape". On October 21, 2018, rapper RM released mono on digital and streaming platforms for free alongside a music video for its final track "Forever Rain". The playlist includes lyric videos for its second and third track, "Seoul" and "Moonchild", respectively. Mono debuted at number 1 on the global iTunes Top Albums chart, and later peaked at number 1 in 88 countries.
Crossing over to film, Burn The Stage: The Movie was released in theaters worldwide on November 15, 2018. In the United States it accumulated $1.2 million on opening day for a total of $3.54 million over the three day weekend, breaking the record for for highest grossing event cinema musical production which was previously set in 2014 by the band One Direction. It ranked at number ten in the box office despite selling at only 620 locations compared to the 2,000-4,000 locations for the other top ten sellers.
On November 9, 2018 "Love Yourself: Answer" became the first Korean album to be certified Gold (500,000+ units), and BTS became the first Korean group to get a Platinum (1,000,000+ units) certification with the single "MIC Drop" in the United States.
On November 6, 2018, BTS won eleven awards at the MBC Plus X Genie Music Awards, including Album of the Year and Artist of the Year. On November 29, 2018, BTS won the grand prize ("daesang") at the 3rd Asia Artist Awards. On December 1st, 2018, BTS won a total of seven awards at the 2018 Melon Music Awards, including Album of the Year with Love Yourself: Tear, and Artist of the Year. On December 14, 2018, BTS won ten awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, including Album of the Year and Artist of the Year. This marked their third year in a row winning the Artist of the Year award.
According to StubHub BTS was one of 2018's best selling concerts in the world, second to only Ed Sheeran.
In December 2018, Billboard reported that BTS ranked #8 in their year-end Top Artist Chart, alongside the likes of Drake and Taylor Swift. They were also the No. 2 act of the year in the Duo/Group ranking, only behind Imagine Dragons. In the same month they made the Bloomberg 50, citing their willingness to address social issues, mental health, and politics despite being in a genre that can be painted as bubble gum pop.
2019: Map of the Soul: Persona and stadium world tour
In February 2019, BTS attended the 61st Grammy Awards as award presenters. It was their first time attending the event following an appearance by the group at the LA Grammy Museum in 2018. In April, BTS became the first Asian act to surpass 5 billion streams on Spotify, and Time named BTS as one of Time 100's most influential people of 2019.
In April 2019, BTS released their sixth EP Map of the Soul: Persona simultaneously with the lead single "Boy With Luv" (Korean: 작은 것들을 위한 시; RR: Jageun geotdeureul wihan si), which featured American singer Halsey. The EP's release was followed by a performance on the same day on Saturday Night Live, as the first Korean act to do so. The group's appearance was anticipated as one of the biggest in the show's history. Commercially, BTS reached new career heights. Map of the Soul: Persona became the first Korean-language album to reach the number one position in both the UK and Australia and also became the group's third consecutive album to top the Billboard 200 and the third within eleven months, joining the likes of The Beatles, who achieved the same in 1995–96. The EP moved 230,000 album-equivalent units in its first week, with 196,000 in pure sales; the fourth highest of the year. Map of the Soul: Persona later became the best-selling album ever in South Korea, with more than 3.2 million sales in less than a month. Prior to BTS, the best-selling were dominated by late 90's albums, making BTS the only act formed after 2000 to be featured in the top 10 best-selling list. The lead single "Boy With Luv" debuted number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest in history for a Korean group, and its music video became the most-viewed online video within the first 24 hours as of 2019, accumulating more than 74.6 million views.
In May 2019, following their two wins at the 26th Billboard Music Awards, including a win for Top Duo/Group, BTS embarked on their stadium world tour, Love Yourself: Speak Yourself, with dates in multiple stadium venues including Wembley Stadium, Stade de France, MetLife Stadium, Rose Bowl, and Soldier Field. All dates sold out within two hours with second dates for all venues added due to the high demand. During the tour, BTS performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and kicked off Good Morning America's 'Summer Concert Series' as headliners at Central Park in Manhattan. They also performed on the finale episode of The Voice and one of the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent.
In June 2019, the band scheduled the release of their upcoming game BTS World on June 26, while releasing new songs that would be included in the game's official soundtrack, BTS World: Original Soundtrack. On June 7, a collaboration single, "Dream Glow", featuring English singer Charli XCX, was released. On June 14, another single named "A Brand New Day" was released with Swedish singer Zara Larsson. On June 21, the final part of the soundtrack was released featuring American rapper Juice Wrld named "All Night". On June 24, "Boy With Luv" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, selling over one million units.
BTS co-writes, produces, and composes much of their output, to which some media outlets have attributed their success. Since their inception, BTS have developed and maintained a style of "fusion music" with an emphasis on hip hop as their musical base largely due to the influence of RM and Suga's background as underground rappers and their main producer Pdogg. Rather than wanting to stick to a specific genre, BTS have introduced brand new elements into their musical repertoire with each new album. BTS' sound began with old-school hip hop influences heard on 2 Cool 4 Skool and O!RUL8,2?, but evolved to include R&B and rock with Skool Luv Affair and Dark and Wild, orchestral strings and electronic dance music with their The Most Beautiful Moment in Life album series, moombahton, neo soul, and gospel in Wings and You Never Walk Alone, and future bass, Latin pop, and jazz hip hop in their Love Yourself album series
BTS' lyrics are known for their social commentary, often incorporating criticism of South Korean society. Songs such as "No More Dream" and "N.O" from their "school trilogy" were deeply motivated by their experiences with South Korea's emphasis on education and called for change to the education system and societal expectations. Their experiences with youth culture in South Korea inspired songs like "Dope" and "Silver Spoon" (Korean: 뱁새; RR: Baepsae) from their "youth series," referencing generational disparity and the millennial's giving up of romantic relationships, marriage, children, proper employment, homes, and social life in the face of economic difficulties and societal ills while facing condemnation from the media and older generations. The song "Am I Wrong" from Wings (2016) questioned societal apathy towards the state of current events—the lyric "We're all dogs and pigs / we become dogs because we're angry" referenced the South Korean Ministry of Education official Na Hyang-wook who was a proponent of the caste system and described the average person as "dogs and pigs," and BTS performed the song on television during the 2016 South Korean political scandal that led to the impeachment of ex-President Park Geun-hye. RM and Suga's personal struggles with mental health inspired songs like "Tomorrow", "Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life", "So Far Away", "The Last", and "Forever Rain." "Not Today" from You Never Walk Alone (2017) is an anti-establishment anthem, with messages advocating for minority groups, while "Spring Day" was created to memorialize the victims of the Sewol Ferry tragedy.
Grace Jeong, editor-in-chief of Soompi, praised the group by stating that, “BTS has something to say, and has a great marketing strategy that doesn’t alienate non-Korean-speaking fans.” While they have received praise for their lyrics, in 2016 the group faced criticisms of misogyny regarding the lyrics of "War of Hormone", "Converse High", and RM's solo song "Joke", as well as a Twitter comment made by Suga. The group's label later issued an apology.
BTS' has cited Nas, Eminem, Kanye West, Drake, Post Malone, and Charlie Puth as musical inspirations. BTS has also cited Queen as an influence, saying they "grew up watching videos of Live Aid.” During their concert at Wembley Stadium in London, Jin paid tribute to Queen by leading the crowd in a version of Freddie Mercury’s "ay-oh" chant from the band’s Live Aid concert.
In addition to musical inspirations, BTS also takes many inspirations from literary, psychological, artistic, and philosophical mediums. Their album Wings is inspired by Hermann Hesse's coming of age novel, Demian. Their song "Blood Sweat & Tears" references Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zurathustra, Herbert James Draper's The Lament for Icarus, Pieter Bruegel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, and Pieter Bruegel's The Fall of the Rebel Angels by quoting Nietzsche and featuring the three aforementioned paintings in the music video. Their "Spring Day" music video contains lyrical and visual references to Ursula Le Guin's short story The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. J-Hope's solo mixtape, Hope World, and its lead single Daydream were inspired by Jules Verne's novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, as well as containing a reference to Douglas Adams's science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.The Love Yourself series was primarily influenced by Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving, while their song "Magic Shop" of Love Yourself: Tear was inspired by James R. Doty's memoir Into the Magic Shop.Their 2019 album Map of the Soul: Persona gains its name from Murray Stein's Jung's Map of the Soul: An Introduction.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in, in a congratulatory letter he wrote to BTS, recognized their sincerity and inclusion of diversity as the group's key to success. Moon stated that "Each of the seven members sings in a way that is true to himself and the life he wants to live. Their melody and lyrics transcend regional borders, language, culture, and institutions." The Wire mentioned in their article that "BTS are big because they are “different” because they put creative input to the band’s sound".
Since the beginning of their career they have been delivering social messages through their lyrics. Their lyrics would be open about the cultural pressure placed on Korean teens to excel and do well and to repress their anxieties.“We came together with a common dream to write, dance and produce music that reflects our musical backgrounds as well as our life values of acceptance, vulnerability and being successful,” said BTS’s leader, RM, in a 2017 interview with Time.Their debut single, “No More Dream,” was an ode to teen apathy. BTS’s success was due to mixing their openness on social media with blunt and honest lyrics — and owning their status as an underdog group battling to succeed against other bands who came from established studios with larger budgets. “Dope” openly celebrated the endless grind of their lives: “Over half of the day, we drown in work / Even if our youth rots in the studio / Thanks to that, we’re closer to success.”
Impact and influence
BTS has been described as "easily the biggest and most successful name in K-pop in the world" that can "do things no other name in their genre can." As the first Korean musician to make the Global Artist Chart in 2018, BTS had the second and third best-selling albums worldwide and were the second best-selling artists worldwide in terms of physical, digital, and streaming platforms, coming second only to Drake. In the United States, BTS accounted for 72.7 percent of the album consumption units generated by K-pop acts in 2018 out of a total of 17 acts. The most tweeted-about celebrities in the world in 2017 and 2018, Time magazine has named the band one of the 25 most influential people on the internet, featured them on the cover of their October 2018 global edition as "Next Generation Leaders," and named them one of Time 100's most influential people of 2019. BTS also made it to the Bloomberg 50 in 2018, and Forbes Korea Power Celebrity has named them the fifth most influential celebrities of Korea in 2017 and the most influential celebrities of Korea in 2018. CNN has alikened the intensity of the fans of BTS to that of "Beatlemania." Their influence led them to address the United Nations at their 73rd General Assembly and to perform to 400 officials including South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the Korea-France Friendship Concert in Paris, a summit meant to show the friendly relations between France and South Korea. Due to their contributions in spreading Korean culture and language, BTS became the youngest ever recipients to be awarded the Order of Cultural Merit by the President of South Korea.
BTS has measurably revitalized the Korean economy and the global music industry. Credited for the surge in popularity of online purchases of K-pop items and the growth of the Korean Wave between 2016 and 2018 by the Korea Customs Service and Korea Foundation, BTS was cited as one of the main driving forces for the recovery of South Korea’s music-related sector to levels seen before China’s 2016 ban on domestic cultural contents over soured diplomatic relations. Yung Duk Kim, vice president and chief operating officer of the Korea Creative Content Agency, stated K-pop has “skyrocketed” since BTS' popularity surged, creating jobs not only for BTS and their team but other K-pop idols as well. Various news outlets coined the term the "BTS effect" to refer to the commercial effects of BTS' influence, such as when KB Kookmin Bank savings accounts increased six-fold compared to the prior year following BTS' endorsement and when stock prices of entertainment companies in South Korea shot up for five days after BTS topped the U.S. Billboard 200. The effect was also observed when companies tied to BTS, such as Netmarble, NetMark, Soribada, Key Shares, GMP, Diffie, and Mattelhad their stocks rise. Data firm SM2 Networks estimated Hyundai Motor received ₩600 billion ($502 million) in promotional results after commissioning BTS as their promotional models in 2018. Signed on as tourism ambassadors in 2017, the Seoul Metropolitan Government credits BTS for the recovery of Seoul's shrinking tourism industry following the 2016 THAAD controversy, bringing in an average of 790,000 tourists to Korea annually. In December 2018, the Hyundai Research Institute estimated BTS was worth more than $3.67 billion to the Korean economy each year, attracting one in every thirteen foreigners who visit Korea. As of June 2019, BTS' economic effect on South Korea is estimated to be over ₩5.5 trillion ($4.65 billion) per year. Along with Ariana Grande and Drake, BTS was credited as a key act boosting global music sales to $19 billion in 2018. Such profit had not been seen since 2006 after digital purchases gained momentum.
BTS' work has influenced numerous artists, including (G)I-dle, D-Crunch's Hyunho, The Boyz' Younghoon, SF9's Zuho, Euna Kim, Golden Child's Jaehyun, Wanna One, IN2IT, Park Ji-hoon, Kim Dong-han, Seven O'Clock, Hyeongseop X Euiwoong, Noir, Victon's Sejun, and Loona. After BTS released their single "Idol," the National Gugak Center had to expand the amount of Korean instrument sounds available due to increased demand from Korean and foreign producers alike. K-pop idol groups also began changing the themes of their lyrics from love stories to words such as "looking for myself" following BTS' "Love Yourself" era and RM's speech at the United Nations.
Awards and nominations
See also: List of Awards and Nominations
BTS have received many awards and honors, including 15 Melon Music Awards, 15 Mnet Asian Music Awards, 14 Golden Disc Awards 12 Seoul Music Awards, 10 Gaon Chart Music Awards, 4 Billboard Music Awards (first Korean group), 4 Korean Music Awards, and one American Music Award (first Korean group). In Korea, BTS have one Multi-Million album and one Million album. As the first Korean group to receive RIAA certification, BTS have 2 Platinum single, 3 Gold singles, and 1 Gold album in the United States. In Japan, BTS have 2 Multi-Platinum singles, one Multi-Platinum album, and 3 Gold albums.
BTS also have a large social influence and currently hold 7 Guinness World Records, including the world record for Most Twitter engagements. To date they have spent 131 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Social 50 chart. In October 2018, BTS was awarded a fifth-class Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit from the President of South Korea for their contributions in spreading Korean culture and language. The members of BTS became members of the Recording Academy in 2019 in honor of their contributions to music and as part of a push to help diversify Grammy Award voters.
Main Article: List of Records Set and Broken
BTS have involved themselves in a variety of charitable events. In 2015, they donated seven tons (7,187 kg) of rice to charity at the K-Star Road opening ceremony held in Apgujeong-dong. The following year they participated in ALLETS's "Let's Share the Heart" collaboration charity campaign with Naver to raise donations for LISA, a charity "which carries forward a preparation business to fight blindess including research on degenrative retina disease treatment and an activity to improve social awareness on the visually impaired. In April 2018, BTS participated in Stevie Wonder's "Dream Still Lives" tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. with other celebrities, sharing their dreams and hopes for the world. It was revealed that Stevie Wonder himself had asked BTS to participate in the campaign.
In January 2017, news media reported that BTS and Big Hit Entertainment had donated KR₩100,000,000 (US$85,000) to the 4/16 Sewol Families for Truth and A Safer Society, an organization connected to the families of the 2014 Sewol Ferry Disaster. Each member donated KR₩10,000,000 and Big Hit Entertainment donated an additional KR₩30,000,000. The donation was intended to have been made in secret. Later that year, BTS officially launched their Love Myself campaign, an initiative dedicated to helping "protect and support child and teen victims of domestic and school violence as well as sexual assault around the world...", in partnership with the Korean Committee for UNICEF. BTS donated 500 million won (US$448,000) from the members, and 100% of all sales of official goods for the Love Myself campaign over the next two years, as well as include donation desks installed by UNICEF, towards several social programs benefiting violence prevention against children and teens and support programs for victims of violence. In addition, 3% of the sales from each album in the Love Yourself series (Love Yourself: Her, Love Yourself: Tear, and Love Yourself: Answer) will be donated to the cause. Within two months of its launch the campaign raised an additional KR₩106,000,000, taking the worldwide funds total to KR₩606,000,000.
In April 2018, BTS participated in Stevie Wonder's "Dream Still Lives" tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. alongside other celebrities, sharing their dreams and hopes for the world. It was revealed that Stevie Wonder himself had asked BTS to participate in the campaign.
Members of the group have also engaged in individual philanthropic endeavours. Since 2016, Jimin has supported graduates of Busan Hoedong Elementary School, his alma mater, by covering uniform expenses. After news of the school's closing was released, he donated summer and winter middle school uniforms to the final graduates and gifted autographed albums to the entire student body. For his 25th birthday, Suga donated ten kilograms of prime Korean beef to 39 orphanages in Korea under the name of BTS' ARMY fan club.On February 18, 2019, J-Hope donated ₩100,000,000 (US $89,000) to support low-income students attending his alma mater through ChildFund Korea. Earlier, on December 20, 2018, J-Hope donated ₩150,000,000 (US $133,000) to ChildFund Korea in order to support "students in the arts, music, and physical education who need financial support in order to pursue their dreams, and students who need assistance with paying for health care". In addition, fans of J-Hope donated 128 sacks of rice to Gwangju, J-Hope's hometown, along with partnering with the organization "Korea Food for the Hungry International" to organize the "Hope on the Stop Hunger" project, an effort that "sponsors starving children in 53 countries with emergency relief and food". In total, around 35 different fan philanthropical projects were carried out in honor of J-Hope's 25th birthday. On March 9, 2019, Suga donated ₩100,000,000 (US $89,000) to the Korea Pediatric Cancer Foundation and 329 plush toys to the children patients, alongside placing his gifts underneath the fanbase name. On December 4, 2018, Jin personally donated bags of food, bowls, and blankets to animals under the protection of the Korean Animal Welfare Association. In addition, fans donated 344 sets of female hygiene products worth ₩6,000,000 (US $5390) to Gwacheon, Jin's hometown.
On September 24, 2018, BTS attended the United Nations 73rd General Assembly for the launch of the youth initiative called "Youth 2030: The UN Youth Strategy" and its corresponding UNICEF campaign titled "Generation Unlimited". On behalf of the group, BTS' leader RM delivered a six-minute speech in English about self-acceptance, as well as their Love Myself campaign. According to UNICEF, the goal of the initiative is "to provide quality education and training for young people". BTS were selected to attend due to their impact on youth culture through their music and social messages, previous philanthropic endeavors, and popularity among the 15-to-25-year-old age demographic.
BTS has maintained numerous global endorsement deals in various industries throughout their career and was named one of Time 100's most influential people of 2019. Since 2015, BTS has maintained a partnership with Puma, initially promoting their sportswear as Puma Korea's brand ambassadors before expanding to become their global ambassadors in 2018 and promoting the remix of Puma's "Turin" and "Sportstyle" line worldwide. BTS has also served as global brand ambassadors for LG Electronics to promote their LG G7 ThinQ telephone, and for Hyundai Motor as part of the company's promotions at the 2018 LA Auto Show for their 2019 flagship SUV the "Palisade." Due to BTS' endorsement, Hyundai struggled to keep up with demand of the car, having received almost double their anticipated domestic order volume. As a draw for tourism, BTS has worked as brand models for Lotte Duty Free Shop since 2017 and worked as honorary tourism ambassadors for Seoul as part of the 'I Seoul U' program. The group filmed an advertisement produced by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which was subsequently aired in over 100 countries, and released the promotional song "With Seoul." They also collaborated with popular Korean communication app Line to create new Line 'characters', called BT21, that serve as emojis, stickers, clothing, and more. The BT21 collaboration quickly swept the global market, opening flagship stores in Itaewon, Hongdae, Myeong-dong and other tourist hotspots in Seoul, as well as stores in Japan, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
BTS has also worked with numerous companies in the entertainment sector. BTS published the webtoons Hip Hop Monster and We On through the Nate Webtoon portal, and the webtoon Save Me in collaboration with LICO and Line Webtoon. In the toy industry, Mattel created dolls modeled off BTS' outfits from the music video "Idol," Medicom Toy created the "BE@RBRICK", a block-like toy with the BTS logo and gold-hued accents modeled after BTS' stage clothes, and Funko released BTS versions of Funko Pops. In the gaming industry, Nexon released character avatars based on BTS for their RPG game Elsword, and BTS has worked with DalcomSoft to release the rhythm game SuperStar BTS and are anticipated to release the game BTS World with Netmarble Games in 2019.
In Asia, BTS has also promoted a number of other goods and services. BTS has worked as brand spokespersons for KB Kookmin Bank, one of the top four largest banks in South Korea. Their collaboration was highly successful, generating the opening of over 180,000 accounts, and BTS extended their contract with KB Kookmin Bank through 2019. Coca-Cola Korea also signed BTS on as their new campaign models for promotions during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In the beauty and apparel industry, BTS has maintained a relationship with uniform brand SMART since 2016, having renewed their contract with them through 2019. BTS has also promoted the face mask brand Mediheal, the cosmetics brand VT Cosmetics, and the contact lens brand Play/Up.
- O!RUL8,2? (2013)
- Skool Luv Affair (2014)
- Skool Luv Affair Special Addition (repackage) (2014)
- The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 (2015)
- The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 (2015)
- Love Yourself: Her (2017)
- Map of the Soul: Persona (2019)
- 2 Cool 4 Skool (2013)
- "Danger (Mo-Blue-Mix) (Feat. Thanh)" (2014)
- "Come Back Home" (2017)
- "FAKE LOVE (Rocking Vibe Mix)" (2018)
- "Dream Glow" (2019)
- "A Brand New Day" (2019)
- "All Night" (2019)
- "Ashes" (Lim Jeong-hee featuring BTS) (Pre-debut, 2010)
- "Love U, Hate U" (2AM featuring BTS) (Pre-debut, 2010)
- "Bad Girl" (Lee Hyun featuring BTS and GLAM) (Pre-debut, 2011)
- "Because I'm a Foolish Woman" (Kan Mi-youn featuring BTS) (Pre-debut, 2011)
- "Song To Make You Smile" (Lee Seung-gi featuring BTS and Hareem) (Pre-debut, 2011)
- "With Seoul" (2017)
- 2 Cool 4 Skool / O!RUL8,2? (2014)
- The Best of BTS -Japan Edition- (2017)
- The Best of BTS -Korea Edition- (2017)
- "No More Dream" (2014)
- "Boy In Luv" (2014)
- "Danger" (2014)
- "For You" (2015)
- "I Need U" (2015)
- "Run" (2016)
- "Blood Sweat & Tears" (2017)
- "MIC Drop/DNA/Crystal Snow" (2017)
- "FAKE LOVE/Airplane Pt.2" (2018)
- "Lights/Boy With Luv" (2019)
- "Boy In Luv (Chinese Ver.)" (2015)
- "MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix) (Feat. Desiigner)" (2017)
- "Waste It On Me" (Steve Aoki featuring BTS) (2018)
- "Waste It On Me (Slushii Remix)" (Steve Aoki featuring BTS) (2018)
- "Waste It On Me (Cheat Codes Remix)" (Steve Aoki featuring BTS) (2018)
- "Waste It On Me (W&W Remix)" (Steve Aoki featuring BTS) (2018)
Tours and Concerts
See also: Concert Tours
- BTS Live Trilogy Episode II: The Red Bullet (2014)
- BTS's First Japan Tour-Wake Up: Open Your Eyes (2015)
- BTS Live The Most Beautiful Moment in Life On Stage (2015)
- BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour (2017)
- BTS World Tour: Love Yourself (2018-2019)
See also: Videography
- Rookie King: Channel Bangtan – BTS-based reality show, Episode 1–8
- BTS American Hustle Life – BTS-based reality show, Episode 1–8
- COMEBACK SHOW - BTS DNA – Special
- BTS Countdown – Special
Variety shows online
- BTS GO! – BTS-based reality show, Episode 7
- BTS: Lucky Draw – Episode 1–5
- Run BTS! – Episode 1–58
- BTS Gayo – Episode 1–15
- BTS: Bon Voyage – a 10-day trip around North Europe celebrating their 3rd year, Episode 1–8
- BTS: Bon Voyage Season 2 – a 9-day travel in Hawaii, Episode 1–8
- BTS: Burn The Stage – Documentary on BTS' Wings Tour and attendance at the Billboard and American Music Awards, Episode 1–8
- BTS: Bon Voyage Season 3 - trip to Malta, Episode 1-8
- Their fan club name is A.R.M.Y, which means Adorable Representative M.C for Youth.
- Their label for the Japanese albums used to be Pony Canyon. The current one is Def Jam Records, where there are Western singers signed.
- They have 3 sets of emoticons on the app KakaoTalk, 2 sets with emoticons on the V App, and 13 Snow 'lens', 9 of them being with the boys during Blood Sweat & Tears promotions.
- They released a Taiwan special edition, of the album Dark & Wild, with a bonus song, Boy in Luv (Chinese version)
- Supreme Boi and Iron are two of the former members who wanted to join BTS.
- They went to a baseball match, on June 2, 2017, representing the team Tigers.
- Every year, in the month June, (the month BTS debuted) there is a festival called the "BTS Festa" when they release hidden images, covers of songs and loads more.
- 4 members have their own Studios, RM 'RKive' (formerly called Mon Studio), Suga 'Genius Lab', J-Hope 'Hope World' and Jungkook 'Golden Closet'.
- Blog: Main / Japanese
- Twitter: Promotional / Personal / Japanese
- Youtube: Main / Japanese
- Love Myself Campaign
- Website: Main / Japanese
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