Peace, love and understanding (of Korean)
October 06, 2021

BTS’ anti-bullying campaign raised $3.6 million

K-pop icons BTS have raised an impressive $3.6 million after teaming up with UNICEF four years ago to create an anti-bullying campaign called Love Myself, NME reports. Launched in November 2017, the Love Myself campaign sends a powerful anti-bullying message, promoting self-love among children and young people across the world. In addition to the $3.6 million raised, the campaign has also generated significant interest online, with almost five million tweets mentioning the initiative, as well as over 50 million engagements.

Apart from their societal influence, K-pop septet is a major money-maker in their country. According to the Korea Culture And Tourism Institute, BTS is bringing an estimated 5 billion dollars to the South Korean economy each year. The group is fueling interests in all things Korean - tourism, language, films, television, fashion, and food. NPR discusses BTS' influence in the latest podcast.

June 21, 2021

K-pop fans fighting for Palestine

A month ago, during the latest Palestine-Israeli crisis, the K-pop Twitter account @sceneryfortae, dedicated to BTS' member V donated an undisclosed amount to iF Charity, a UK-based organisation that has been working to address the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip since 2002, and posted the screenshot of the receipt with the hashtags #SaveSheikhJarrah and #SavePalestine. The tweet set off a wave of similar acts of solidarity across Taehyung’s global fanbase, who donated various amounts to organisations worldwide. This set off a wave of actions - numerous accounts have been spreading awareness about the plight of Palestinians and pointing their followers towards resources to educate themselves, petitions to sign, and on-the-ground organisations to donate to. Huck Magazine goes to explain the power K-pop fans have demonstrated on the politics scene in the last few years.

BTS' new single 'Butter' broke the record for the most viewed YouTube music video in its first 24 hours with 108,200,000 views on Friday, May 21. After the single dropped on Spotify it garnered 11,042,335 global streams in just one day, breaking the record for the most streamed track on Spotify in the first 24 hours, Guinness World Records reports. Also, as of 27 April 2021, the music of BTS had been streamed 16.3 billion times on Spotify, breaking the record for the most streamed act on Spotify.

The Weeknd took home 10 awards at the 2021 Billboard Music Award, including top artist and top male artist, Billboard reports. Pop Smoke won five, including top new artist and BTS and Bad Bunny each earned four. P!nk was honored as the Icon, Drake as the artist of the decade and Trae Tha Truth as the Change Maker.

Streaming had the biggest impact on recorded music revenue growth last year - 62% came from streaming. Trapital emphasizes three few less discussed but interesting findings from IFPI reports. Vinyl sales grew 23.5% last year - vinyl are collectibles. It's a callback to a time when fans valued owning art. Synchronization - the use of music in media like games, TV, film, ads, podcasts, etc. - declined 9.4%, but that dip came from pandemic-related production delays. Now that vaccinations are up and production is back on, this will bounce back. South Korea's music revenue grew 44.8% last year. It's now the sixth-largest music market (behind the US, Japan, UK, Germany, and France). It's driven by K-Pop, which is driven by the world's biggest musical act of 2020, BTS.

Korean boyband BTS have expressed "grief and anger" in response to deadly mass shootings in Asian-owned spas in Atlanta, Insider reports. A statement from the band - published in Korean and English - refers to discriminatory experiences that made them feel "powerless". The recent spike in the deliberate targeting of Asian parts of the US population is thought to come from people blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic.

K-pop stars BTS have been named the best-selling artists of 2020 by the IFPI, the organisation that represents the global recorded music industry, Forbes reports. The seven South Koreans are the first non-Western act to win, and the first whose songs are not predominantly sung in English. The boyband beat Taylor Swift (an American), who took the crown last year, into second place. Drake came third, with The Weeknd fourth (both are Canadian) and Billie Eilish at number five (she's an American). The award is calculated according to an artist or group's worldwide sales, downloads and streams, covering their whole body of work.

George Clooney performed a lyrical improv reading of BTS' biggest hit 'Dynamite'. With a straight face Clooney says "hello, I'm Brad Pitt", and reads the lyrics. Amusing stuff!

The colorful ensembles BTS wore in their "Dynamite" music video sold for a total of $162,500 at Julien's Auctions, bringing in more than eight times the amount they were estimated to bring in. Japanese art collector Yusaku Maezawa and YouTuber HIKAKIN bought it, Broadway World reports. A painting of Snoop Dogg’s self-portrait dog wearing a 'Doggy Style 25' gold chain signed by Snoop was the next top seller at $96,000, sixty-four times its original estimate of $1,500. All proceeds from the items sold at auction - numerous others were also offered - will go to MusiCares, providing aid to artists and music community professionals in times of need.

South Korea has changed its military service law so as to allow the members of BTS to extend their careers, and the lifespan of the band, New York Times reports. South Korean men must perform compulsory military service once they turn 28, and two of the members of the K-pop group, Jin and Suga, will soon turn 28. The law change, however, has extended the maximum age to 30 for those allowed to defer their service.

K-pop boys BTS have debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart with their newest release 'Be', after earning 242,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. last week, Billboard reports. BTS is now the first group to land two different albums at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2020, and the second artist overall - following American rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again. 'Be' is also BTS’ fifth album to enter the chart at No. 1.

"I think the most important part of being a singer is the will to communicate something" - Bang Si-hyuk, founder and CEO of Big Hit Entertainment, has said about his concept of making stars. He encouraged members of his biggest project, BTS, to have personal social media accounts and to communicate freely with fans. Mark Mulligan, a music-business analyst and managing director of MIDiA Research, thinks this concept has led to a seismic change: "Big Hit monetizes fandom. In some ways, it's not even the artist that is the product; it's the fan which is the product". An excellent read in NPR about BTS, Big Hit, and fandom in general.

K-pop band BTS has clinched four trophies at this year's MTV Europe Music Awards, including the coveted Best Song prize with its latest hit 'Dynamite' and Best Virtual Live for its concert that was held online amid the new coronavirus pandemic. They also won Best Group and Biggest Fan, Variety reports. Lady Gaga was voted best artist, DJ Khaled won best video for the song 'Popstar', first-time EMA winner Yungblud took home the best push prize, while British group Little Mix won best pop.

Management company Big Hit Entertainment behind the K-pop boy band BTS has scored a huge hit on the country’s stock market on their first day of trading Wednesday - the shares started life on the Seoul market at 270,000 won ($US253), compared with an initial public offering price of 135,000 won last month. The stocks have climbed 30% to 351,000 won, so the company is now valued at almost 10 trillion won ($US8.5bn), Bloomberg reports. Band members’ personal wealth will also skyrocket after they were each given more than 68,000 shares in August, which means that BTS members are multi-millionaires now, with each owning shares worth 24 billion won (US$20.94 million), SCMP reports. The rise of stock has been added by reports that South Korea’s military recruitment agency was considering allowing pop and other celebrities to defer their national service. South Korea requires all able-bodied men aged between 18 and 28 to serve in the military for almost two years to defend the country against security threats from the nuclear-armed North. BTS’s 27-year old singer Jin will have to report for duty by the end of 2021, with the other six members, born between 1993 and 1997, following suit in the coming years.

BTS leader RM mentioned South Korea's shared "history of pain" with the US over the 1950-53 conflict, in which the two countries fought together, while accepting an award, but his remarks have angered Chinese social media users, as Beijing backed the North in the war. Adverts featuring BTS from companies including Samsung, sports brand Fila and car manufacturer Hyundai disappeared from a number of Chinese websites or social media platforms. "They [BTS] should not make any money from China" one user commented on Weibo, New York Times reports, adding - "if you want to make money from Chinese fans you have to consider Chinese feelings".

Dynamite shares
September 29, 2020

BTS become multi-millionaires

All seven members of BTS have become multi-millionaires after their label Big Hit Entertainment started an IPO. The K-Pop label issued its shares at 135,000 won, or $115 apiece, raising 962.55 million won, or $822 million, and giving Big Hit a market valuation of 4.8 trillion won, or $4.1 billion. Big Hit boss Bang Si-hyuk, who owns 43% of the management label, has become a billionaire. He gave the seven members of BTS, all in their early- to mid-20s, more than 68,000 shares each — that values their stakes at about $8 million apiece. The public offering values Big Hit at $4 billion. BTS fans in South Korea are hoping to buy at least one share in the management label.

Soldier of fortune
September 24, 2020

BTS play Tiny Desk concert - fans donate to NPR

American National Public Radio had Korean boy-band BTS for their Tiny Desk concert on Monday, which set a record for online viewership. Later that day, Gabe Rosenberg, the digital news editor for Columbus, Ohio, NPR affiliate WOSU, encouraged the K-pop band’s fans to donate to public radio stations to say thanks. And, so they did, Washingtonian reports. Earlier this year, Korean band’s fans, who are known as ARMY, raised more than $1 million for Black Lives Matter.

BTS have become the first all-Korean pop act to top the Billboard 100 singles chart, after their new English single 'Dynamite' reached 33.9 million in the US streams in its first week, Billboard reports. 'Dynamite' is their first song sung completely in English. The song broke records soon after its release on 21 August, with its pastel-coloured dance-heavy video reaching 101 million views on YouTube just 24 hours after its release.

The Weeknd’s 'Blinding Lights' won video of the year at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Lady Gaga won the most awards during the night - five - followed closely by Ariana Grande and BTS, with four each. See the list of all the winners and all the nominees here. The Weeknd kicked off the 2020 ceremony with a stellar performance of his hit 'Blinding Lights', performed from above Manhattan.

Korean boy band BTS has set a YouTube record with their new video 'Dynamite' with 101,1 million views in 24 hours after its releases last Friday, Variety reports. This marks the first video to achieve 100 million views in one day. More than three million fans also tuned in to watch the clip's live premiere - almost double the previous record, held by Blackpink's 'How You Like That'.

Melissa Etheridge

White label company Maestro’ is partnering with Tim McGraw for paid concert experience, with tickets selling for $15. Livestreams usually draw in 0.5% to 2% of an artist’s Instagram following. By that estimate, McGraw, with 2.7 million followers, could’ve netted $200,000 to $800,000 (he grosses $916,000 per show on physical tours). Melissa Etheridge is currently streaming five days a week, charging $10 for individual tickets or $50 for a monthly subscription. She’s made over $32,000 by now. BTS drew in 750,000 fans who paid $26 to $35 making in between $19 million and $26 million, just in ticket sales. Rolling Stone has the story on livestreams of the near future that will be better, but fans will also have to pay for them...

Korean boy band BTS have debuted on top of Billboard 200 chart, with their newest album 'Map of the Soul: 7' sold in 422,000 equivalent units (347,000 actual purchases, and 75 million streams). It is their fourth No. 1 album in the U.S., the biggest debut of 2020, and BTS' third No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in less than 12 months, which is a feat that had last been managed by The Beatles over half a century before. Back on the new Billboard 200, rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again bows at No. 2 with 'Still Flexin, Still Steppin', which steps in with 91,000 equivalent album units, and Ozzy Osbourne’s 'Ordinary Man' debuts at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 77,000 equivalent album units.

K-pop boy-band BTS is one of South Korea’s biggest exports - with ticket sales, music downloads and merchandise racking up a reported $4.65 billion last year, which amounts to 0,3% of South Korean GDP. They have sponsorship deals with companies from all over the spectrum - when BTS stepped out in a Hyundai Palisade last year, the SUV was on back-order for months. Sportswear manufacturer Puma had s deal with BTS for track suits and sneakers; global character brand LINE Friends had a deal for cellphone cases and plush dolls; South Korean beauty brands VT Cosmetics and Mediheal have a marketing deal with them for makeup, perfume and face masks; even toy maker Mattel is partners with BTS, for figurines and Uno card deck.

Korean boy-band BTS score a major milestone on the Billboard 200 as their 'Love Yourself: Answer' spends a full year on America's main albums chart, Billboard reports. 'Love Yourself: Answer' re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 165 for its 52nd, non-consecutive week on the chart. 'Love Yourself: Answer' has now earned 1.1 million total equivalent album […]

Korean boy-band BTS has added a Saudi Arabia date to their world tour schedule - they will play at King Fahd International Stadium in the capital city of Riyadh on Oct. 11. BTS are poised to become the first foreign act to play a headline stadium show in the kingdom, but not all fans are happy, […]

Billboard reports about huge numbers in ticket sales for BTS shows at their tour in USA and Europe. The Korean boy-band grossed $44 million from six shows in Pasadena, Chicago and New Jersey in May (two shows in every city), selling 299,770 tickets. It was followed by stadium dates in Sao Paolo, London, and Paris, which […]

Boy band BTS have made history on Saturday by becoming the first South Korean group to headline Wembley Stadium, in front of 60,000 screaming fans (CBS). BTS in London paid tribute to Freddie Mercury - singer Jin led the crowd in a version of the Queen frontman's "ay-oh" chant, with his band-mate naming other bands […]

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