Wait, who is BTS?
Last week, Korean Pop group BTS jumped to the top of the charts with their album “Love Yourself: Answer.”
The group from Seoul, South Korea became the first K-pop group to have a No. 1 album with a previous album “Love Yourself: Her” and have done it again with this new album.
Since the band’s debut, they have sold an estimated 9 million albums worldwide.
BTS is known for their strong social media presence. They were the most tweeted about celebrity in 2017, being liked or retweeted over 502 million times.
But where did this surge of music come from? And why has it blown up in America?
While many people’s first exposure might have been through “Gangnam Style,” which in 2012 became the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, it started much earlier.
Seo Taiji and Boys was the first “modern” K-pop group. They formed in 1992, and through their use of rap in Korean pop music, they pioneered what would develop into the $5 billion industry it is today.
The first “idol” group, a group with many iconic, multi-talented members, appeared in 1996. The group, H.O.T., showed the potential of the Korean scene and even performed in a benefit concert with Michael Jackson.
That potential, which some call “Hallyu,” the Korean wave, has truly shown in BTS. Their newest album could very well have been 26 singles.
Most K-pop music comes in the form of idol groups. In TIME magazine’s list of the best K-pop artist, all six artists are idol groups.
These groups are reminiscent of the boy band era of the early 2000s, with different members having unique personalities to appeal to a variety of fans.
While “Love Yourself: Answer” did reach No. 1, don’t expect to be hearing K-pop on the radio anytime soon.
The album has dropped to No. 15 this week, and there aren’t any other groups that have managed to hold on to a Top 200 position for more than two weeks.
But while K-pop is not mainstream, the success of BTS proves K-pop has a large, loyal fanbase who will continue to show their support as “Hallyu” continues to grow.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.