When BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan and Beyond the Scenes, exploded into the Korean music scene back in 2013, no one would have expected the septet to dominate the music industry one day. Hailing from a small agency, the group persevered in the face of a seemingly endless list of challenges, breaking down barriers and ushering a new era of Asian artists taking center stage in the global arena. Widely considered powerhouses and some of the most influential personalities today, the BTS members continue to reach impressive heights with every endeavor.
From sharing one tiny dorm room to partnering with McDonald’s and Louis Vuitton, the Grammy-nominated South Korean household name has carved its own path toward success. It managed to do so without losing its identity and passion for singing, dancing, and writing about life’s pains and triumphs. Over the years, numerous individuals have tried pinpointing the factors that propelled these purpose-driven icons to the forefront, only never to hit the mark. More than BTS’s meaningful lyrics, penchant for transcending genre, and charisma, it is the authenticity, deeply rooted love for the craft and social consciousness that RM, Jin, Suga, J-hope, V, Jimin, and Jungkook demonstrate that allowed them to stand out. Backed by millions of fans collectively known as ARMY, they have amassed historic achievements under their belt, including the honor of becoming the first ensemble since the Beatles to earn three No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart and the first Korean act to receive a nod from the Grammys.
BTS, who gained further acclaim for donating $1 million to the Black Lives Matter movement in a show of solidarity with those fighting against police brutality and racism and collaborating with UNICEF to launch a campaign calling on world leaders to listen to the voices of the youth, proves that it is not at its peak yet. It came as no surprise when it broke several records after releasing its highly anticipated single Butter on Friday, May 21. The Guinness World of Records reported that not only did the superstars gain the most viewers for the premiere of a video on YouTube with 3.9 million concurrent viewers, but they also scored the achievement of having the most-viewed YouTube music video in 24 hours with 108,200,000 views.
Additionally, Butter beat Ed Sheeran, and Justin Bieber’s I Don’t Care when it garnered over eleven million global streams on Spotify in just one day. Along with celebrating these numbers, the fanbase spent the days after the track’s release enjoying BTS’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards, the same event where they won all the categories they were nominated for, including “Top Duo/Group,” “Top Song Sales Artist,” and “Top Selling Song.”
The seven prominent personalities that compose BTS show no sign of slowing down eight years into their career, and even after the curtains will close, they will be remembered as the act that rewrote history and redefined what the industry means for non-Western artists.