What makes BTS different
1. “Butter” at the fish: the English single follows on from the success of “Dynamite”
How much the western radio world is geared towards England and America, you could feel with the release of the hit single "Dynamite" by BTS in late summer 2020. Although the youth broadcasters in this country are likely to have a lot of listeners who are into K-Pop, it took one first English song so that you could hear BTS in rotation on stations like Radio Energy and EinsLive. In America it was similar, which was shown when BTS released the wonderful pandemic ballad "Life Goes On" a few months after "Dynamite": The song became a number 1 hit - but hardly or not played on the radio, because the lyrics were mostly in Korean. The placement resulted from the impressive streaming and sales figures. Although BTS bandleader RM says in the cover story of the current US Rolling Stone that he believes these language barriers will gradually fall, the band and management are once again relying on a song that sounds like it was tailored to the US market. Stone, who has already heard it, called it quite flowery a "pure, swaggering dance-pop celebration in the retro vein of Bruno Mars, with layers of jam and Lewis-style synths". There is already a teaser that has "Another One Bites The Dust" vibes:
2. BTS-ARMY remains stable
A popular mistake made by cultural journalists or online news workers who are supposed to write about K-Pop to tap traffic is to say that BTS are so successful because they are so incredibly strong on social media. What doesn’t apply at all: Like all K-Pop bands, BTS are constantly supplying their fans with new output on various platforms. The reason why everything they do is accompanied by an unparalleled wave of traffic is not the work of the band, but that of their fan base. ARMY, in Korean 아미, regularly ensures that the Internet glows when BTS appear somewhere again, publish something new, or when you just feel like indulging your fan love. By now, most of you know that K-pop fans in general and ARMY in particular are a force - which is not only true for music. How they digitally torpedoed Trump rallies was discussed in all the major media and, of course, also with us.
ARMY also made headlines when it came to “Black Lives Matter”: When BTS donated one million dollars to BLM, the fans collected the same amount within 25 hours and donated it as well. How the BTS fans push new music, the colleagues from Arte Tracks recently explained in a short article:
3. K-Pop is becoming more and more mainstream entertainment - thanks in part to BTS
While even German music journalism asked itself puzzled during the first arena tours of BTS in 2018, what just landed there and was able to sell out a Mercedes-Benz arena within minutes, the interest in K-pop and international acceptance is in has increased massively over the past few years. This is not only due to the triumphant advance of BTS and Blackpink. Both acts have targeted the English and American music markets in particular - and conquered them measurably.
James Corden is someone who recognized the potential of K-Pop early on. He has been a regular guest of idols and bands for years - including BTS in 2017, where he already called them "one of the greatest bands in the world". Corden thinks that BTS are so successful above all because they play in a league of their own. He once said: “It never feels like you are part of the machine. You are the machine. "
Nonetheless, the K-Pop boom cannot only be traced to the two acts: “Time Magazine”, for example, also had a Stray Kids song among its ten most important songs of 2020 - the unbelievable hit: “Backdoor”, which you should definitely hear.
4. Thanks to BTS, people will again talk about how men can be too
As with the previous point, it would be unfair to only credit BTS with this development, but every triumph of theirs also ensures that one has images of men in music videos that have always looked good in the pop world: androgynous appearances, soft facial features, lip gloss , shimmering earrings and necklaces - and why not a ruffled crop shirt when you can wear it? In an interview with Rolling Stone, RM says modestly but firmly: “These labels, which is 'male', are a completely outdated concept. It is not our intention to break this, but when we have a positive influence on it, we are very grateful. We live in times when these labels and restrictions should actually no longer exist. "
5. HYBE Labels, the production company behind BTS, will shape the music industry in the near future
The success story of BTS is also that of Bang Si-hyuk and his production company Big Hit, which has been called HYBE for a few weeks and which has various subsidiaries - for the music sector HYBE Labels. As we have often written, the business in Korea is set up a little differently: Most of the bands do not have a label in the traditional sense, but are more or less employed by production companies that combine management, marketing, labeling, sales and booking. Bang Si-hyuk signed RM in 2010 and slowly formed the band BTS around him. When BTS made its debut in 2013, Bang Si-hyuk's Big Hit was still a start-up - in the meantime he is one of the biggest players and plays in the league of the "Big Three" of K-Pop - that's how the oldest and most successful companies are called SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment.
With the renaming to HYBE, Bang Si-hyuk signals that they want to continue to act based on music - but are now also investing in platforms and companies that will shape the way acts communicate with fans in the coming years how to buy tickets, merchandise and music and how to experience virtual concerts. The business power, the economic creativity and the commercial firepower of the K-Pop industry are also watched with admiration by the labels we know - which, for example, led to Universal at the beginning of the year extensive cooperation and various investments with Big Hit, now HYBE , announced. In short: If you want to know what music marketing might look like in the near future, you should above all keep an eye on Korea and players like HYBE.
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