BTS is a seven-member K-Pop boy band that was formed beginning in 2010 and debuted in 2013. Managed by Big Hit Entertainment, which is not one of the three main K-Pop entertainment agencies, the group members sing, rap, dance, strut and pose and co-write and co-produces much of their own material but for the most part don’t play any instruments on stage. Originally a hip hop group, their music now incorporates a wide range of styles. Their lyrics — mostly in Korean but with choruses that are often in English or even other languages — are regarded as more sophisticated than the usual K-Pop fluff, addressing issues like mental health, problems encountered by school-age youth, self-acceptance, empowerment and loss and make references to German literature, psychological concepts and alternative universes. The group has released about two dozen albums of various sorts and performed on several very successful and lucrative world tours. The Hyundai Research Institute has estimated that BTS generated almost US$5 billion in 2018 (See Below) [Source: Wikipedia +]

BTS, stands for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan, which literally means "Bulletproof Boy Scouts". Group member J-Hope said the name exemplifies the group's desire "to block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim on adolescents like bullets". BTS has been called the Bangtan Boys. In Japan, they are known as Bodan Shonendan, the Japanese translation of Bangtan Sonyeondan. In July 2017, as part of band’s effort to rebrand itself, BTS announced that their name would also stand for "Beyond the Scene", meaning "growing youth BTS who is going beyond the realities they are facing, and going forward." The groups fans are often referred to as the BTS army.

Neil Z. Yeung wrote in” BTS “balance an energetic blend of dance-pop and hip-hop with deeply introspective lyrics, which helped them build a devoted global following while also becoming the most successful K-pop act in U.S. chart history. Debuting in the early 2010s with their Skool trilogy, they steadily expanded their audience until breaking into the mainstream consciousness with the Love Yourself series. Formed by producer Bang Si Hyuk, the septet's lineup includes RM (Kim Namjoon), team leader and rapper; Jin (Kim Seokjin), singer; Suga (Min Yoongi), rapper; J-Hope (Jung Hoseok), rapper and choreographer; Jimin Park, singer and choreographer; V (Kim Taehyung), singer; and Jungkook Jeon, singer, rapper, and choreographer. With their youthful blend of club-worthy dance anthems, stirring love ballads, and aggressive rapping, BTS have themselves apart from the K-pop industrial machine. [Source: Neil Z. Yeung,]

Regina Kim wrote in Rolling Stone: BTS became mega-level “popular abroad before they became popular in South Korea. Once overlooked as a boy band in their home country, BTS is now topping the charts in South Korea due to their international fame, with hit “Dynamite” holding the top spot on the Gaon and Melon music charts from September through most of November. Their newly released album BE, currently ranked Number Two on the Gaon Album Chart, has sparked a steady stream of positive press in the Korean media, albeit much of the coverage focuses on the album’s success overseas in places like the US, the UK and other countries. [Source: Regina Kim, Rolling Stone, December 9, 2020]

BTS Success

BTS debuted in 2013 with their single album 2 Cool 4 Skool. The group's second Korean studio album, Wings (2016), was their first to sell one million copies in South Korea. By 2017, BTS was starting to make a splash in the U.S. with hits like "Mic Drop".In 2018 they became the first group since The Beatles to earn four US number-one albums in less than two years. Love Yourself: Answer (2018) was the first Korean album to go platinum. In 2020, BTS became the first all-South Korean act to reach number one on the Billboard Global 200 and US Billboard Hot 100 with their single "Dynamite". BTS became the first group to have two number one debuts on the Hot 100 with the remix of "Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)" and the release of "Life Goes On".

BTS is the best-selling artist in South Korean history and their “Map of the Soul: 7" is best-selling album in South Korea. BTS is the first Asian and first non-English speaking act to headline and sell out Wembley Stadium and played at the Rose Bowl, which seats almost 100,000 people, in Pasadena, California. The group was featured on the cover of Time magazine's"Next Generation Leaders" leader and named by Time as “Entertainers of the Year” in 2020. The group made it the magazine's lists of the 25 most influential people on the internet (2017–2019) and the 100 most influential people in the world (2019). It has been reported that one in every 13 foreign tourists that visited South Korea did so because of BTS and they played a big part in boosting global music sales to US$19 billion in 2018.

As the knob on their success was being turned up to maximum volume in April 2019, AJ Willingham of CNN wrote: “Their new album, "Map of the Soul: Persona," is expected to demolish international sales charts. They have a new single featuring American pop star Halsey. And they brought down the walls of studio 8H this weekend when they appeared on "Saturday Night Live." This is One Direction big. This is Beatlemania big. And while K-pop music isn't exactly a new sensation outside of Korea, BTS and similar groups are cultivating devoted followings across the globe, elevating K-pop from a niche import to a full-blown international movement. Pre-orders for "Map of the Soul: Persona," have surpassed 3 million copies, Big Hit, told CNN. Their two most recent two albums — "Love Yourself: Tear" and "Love Yourself: Answer" — each sold around 2 million copies. [Source: AJ Willingham, CNN, April 14, 2019]

Asked to explain the group’s attractiveness, RM told the Yomiuri Shimbun. ““It has something very human.” J-Hope said, “It’s our energy!”, with Jin adding “Each member’s compassion.” “We always come together to rehearse intensively before performing publicly so that we can always achieve top quality performances,” J-Hope said. “Suga said: “I’m honored we’ve become so popular. But we won’t stick to a particular style because we want to take on the challenge of all sorts of genres to present various aspects of us.” [Source: Akiko Komai, Yomiuri Shimbun, January 2017]

BTS Generates Almost US$5 Billion A Year

According to a report titled “Economic Effects of BTS” published by the Hyundai Research Institute in December 2018, BTS's annual production inducement effect is estimated at 4.14 trillion won (US$3.67 billion). The report also estimated that BTS generates 1.42 trillion won (US$1.26 billion) annually in added value. Choi Moon-hee wrote in Business Korea: “The institute projected that 796,000 foreigners on average have visited South Korea for BTS-related reasons every year since the group’s debut in 2013. BTS-related exports have totaled US$1.12 billion (1.26 trillion won), including US$233.98 million (264.28 billion won) in clothing and accessories, US$426.64 million (481.89 billion won) in cosmetics and US$456.49 million (515.61 billion won) in foodstuffs, over the same period. In short, BTS is estimated to have been responsible for 7.6 percent of the 10.4 million foreign tourists who visited the country last year and 1.7 percent of consumer exports last year. [Source: Choi Moon-hee, Business Korea, December 19, 2018]

“The HRI said it analyzed BTS’s contribution to the South Korean economy since its debut in July 2013 by quantifying the search volume in “Google Trend” and analyzing the impact on the value chain over tourism and consumer exports context. When the popularity of BTS increased by one point, the number of foreign tourists went up by 0.45 point three months later, exports of clothing and accessories by 0.18 point, cosmetics by 0.72 point and foodstuffs by 0.45 point in the same month. The HRI expects that BTS will generate an economic value of 41.86 trillion won (US$37.06 billion) and an added value of 14.3 trillion won (US$12.66 billion) for 10 years between 2014 and 2023 if the band continues to maintain its popularity.

BTS’s estimated annual economic value of 4.1 trillion won is 26 times larger than the average medium-sized company in Korea, which earned just 159 billion won in 2016 according to the report. On factors that contributed to the success of the group, the reported said: “All BTS members participate in the songwriting and composing, often writing from their own perspective the concerns of young adults in their teens and twenties, and listeners are able to sympathize with them regardless of their nationality. BTS’s albums and concerts are also structured in a way that has a narrative, which helps attract the attention of fans and raise their expectations for upcoming albums and concerts as well.” Other factors mentioned include active communication with BTS fans - known as ARMY - through social media and the fans’ strong support. [Source: Kim Eun-jin, Joongang Daily, December 18, 2018]

BTS: Time Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year in 2020

In December 2020, BTS was named Time Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year. Associated Press reported: “BTS has had more than just a “Dynamite” year — they've become such a global phenomenon that Time magazine named them as its 2020 Entertainer of the Year.... The magazine cited BTS' massive global presence amid the pandemic, including leveraging their massive fan base to support causes like Black Lives Matter. [Source: Associated Press, December 11, 2020]

The group has become a staple of recent awards shows, performing their flashy No. 1 hit “Dynamite.” The song in November brought BTS its first Grammy nomination. “There are times when I’m still taken aback by all the unimaginable things that are happening,” BTS member Suga told Time for an interview that accompanied the announcement. “But I ask myself, Who’s going to do this, if not us?”

In April 2019, BTS was compared with Beatles when they celebrated three Billboard No 1 albums in a year with the third being ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’, released in April 2019. The feat of three Billboard No 1 albums in a year at that time had only been achieved by The Beatles in 1995-96 and the Monkees in 1967. [Source: Korea Times, April 25, 2019]

In September 2018, Joe Coscarelli wrote in the New York Times, “K-pop, the fizzy Korean youth-culture genre that has become an irrepressible international export, is at the top of the charts once again thanks to the group BTS. “For the second time in six months, the seven-member boy band has the No. 1 album in the United States, having followed up “Love Yourself: Tear” from May, the first K-pop album to ever lead the Billboard 200, with “Love Yourself: Answer,” another chart-topper. “Answer,” the third part of a trilogy, is a compilation of sorts, featuring more than a dozen songs culled from the previous two chapters but adding on 10 additional tracks exclusive to this release, including “Idol,” a crossover collaboration with Nicki Minaj. “Answer” sold a total of 185,000 units in its first week, according to Nielsen, including 39 million digital streams and 141,000 in traditional sales. Overall, those numbers bested “Love Yourself: Tear,” which tallied 135,000 units in its debut week. “Billboard reported that among albums this year that are classified as pop, only Justin Timberlake and Ariana Grande had bigger opening weeks than BTS’s “Love Yourself: Answer.”“[Source: Joe Coscarelli, New York Times September 3, 2018]

Formation of BTS

BTS began its formation in 2010 after Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk met with group leader RM and was impressed with his rapping. BTS was originally supposed to be a hip-hop group similar to YG Entertainment's 1TYM, but between their initial formation and their debut, Bang Si-hyuk decided that the contemporary youth needed instead "a hero who can lend them a shoulder to lean on, even without speaking a single word". The group was meant to debut in 2011 and featured on several tracks by artists such as 2AM and Lee Seung-gi. Their debut was delayed as the group was reorganized into a more traditional idol group. The lineup was then finalized with Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook in 2012. Six months prior to their debut, they began to gain attention for their presence on various social media websites, as well as song covers on YouTube and SoundCloud. [Source: Wikipedia]

Suga said: “We started to tell the stories that people wanted to hear and were ready to hear, stories that other people could not or would not tell. We said what other people were feeling—like pain, anxieties and worries. That was our goal, to create this empathy that people can relate to.”

In June 2013, BTS released their debut single album 2 Cool 4 Skool, the first installment in their "school trilogy" series, simultaneously with its lead single "No More Dream", which peaked at number 124 in Korea before quickly falling off the charts. While the album peaked at number five in South Korea and eventually sold over 145,000 copies, it was not a major hit, selling only 24,000 copies in 2013. Their subsequent single “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2” failed to chart. In 2 Cool 4 Skool, BTS employed an old-school hip-hop sound with scratches from the 1980s-90s and excessively fierce visuals. In September 2013, BTS released the second part to their "school trilogy,” the extended play O!RUL8,?, along with its single "N.O,” which peaked at number 92 in Korea. The EP peaked at number four in Korea and has sold over 160,000 copies to date, including 34,000 copies in its release year. Musically, BTS did not fundamentally change their sound as compared with 2 Cool 4 Skool, utilizing fiery rapping along with trap beats, brass, and soulful melodies. Lyrically, the EP expanded on the theme of dreams and happiness, revealing their frustration under the harsh Korean education system.

RM: Leader and Rapper of BTS

RM’s real name is Kim Nam-joon. RM stands for Rap Monster. He was born on September 12, 1994, in Dongjak-gu, South Korea, and grew up in Ilsan-gu, where his family moved when he was four or five. He has a younger sister. As a child, RM learned English by watching Friends with his mother. When he was a student, he wrote poetry and received some awards for his writings. At the age of 11, RM became interested in hip-hop music after hearing Epik High's "Fly" in fifth grade. He was turned on to Eminem by a school teacher, and after that started writing his own hip hop lyrics and songs. In 2007, when he was a first year middle school student, RM began rapping in local amateur hip-hop contests and made his first recordings using Adobe Audition (then called Cool Edit). He participated in his first concert in 2008. [Source: Wikipedia]

RM is said to have had an IQ of 148. He scored in the top one percent in South Korea’s rigorous university entrance examinations for language, math, foreign language and social studies RM's parents strongly opposed to ambition of pursuing a musical career and initially RM decided to set music aside to focus on his studies. RM selected the name "Rap Monster" during his time as an idol trainee. The name is derived from the lyrics of a song he wrote, inspired by San E's "Rap Genius".

In 2009, RM auditioned for Big Deal Records. He passed the first round but failed in the second round after he forgot all his lyrics. At this audition RM met the rapper Sleepy who later mentioned RM to Big Hit Entertainment producer Pdogg. In 2010, Sleepy contacted RM, encouraging him to audition for Big Hit. He did and Big Hit CEO Bang Si-hyuk. Bang offered RM a recording contract. Without his parents knowledge, RM accepted the offer. After that Bang and Pdogg began working on forming a hip hop group that ultimately became BTS.

RM joined Big Hit Entertainment when he was 16. During his early career as an idol trainee he was enrolled at Global Cyber University. RM trained for three years with fellow rapper Min Yoon-gi and dancer Jung Ho-seok, who later became known as Suga and J-Hope respectively. During his three-year trainee period, RM performed on five pre-debut tracks credited to BTS in 2010 and 2011. He also worked as a songwriter for girl group Glam and helped pen their debut single, "Party (XXO)", an explicitly pro-LGBTQ song which was praised by Billboard as "one of the most forward-thinking songs out of a K-pop girl group in the past decade."

BTS Members

The last BTS member to join was Jimin. According to posts on he was kicked out of the group several times (even the day before they debuted!) RM was the first member to join BTS (See Above). He he was originally an underground rapper named ‘Runch Randa’. He became a trainee for BigHit in 2010 and was part of the original BTS lineup and ended up being only member of the original BTS lineup that was in the BTS that debuted in 2013 and exists today.

Jin: vocalist: Real Name: Kim Seok-jin Birthday: December 4, 1992. Jin was scouted for the group while in university and joined Big Hit Entertainment as an actor and transitioned to a singer. He hails from Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province and has an older brother. While in junior high school, Kim was recruited based on his looks by the major K-pop agency SM Entertainment while walking on the street, but he rejected the offer. He attended Konkuk University and graduating with a degree in art and acting in 2017 just as BTS was starting to get really famous and even after that enrolled in graduate school at Hanyang Cyber University. In addition to BTS, Jin has appeared as a host in a number of South Korean music programs. Kim has been praised for his falsetto and emotional range of his voice. singer. [Source: Wikipedia]

Suga: rapper: Real Name: Min Yoon-gi; Birthday: March 9, 1993; Suga was born in Daegu (Taegu). He became interested in rap after hearing "Reggae Muffin" by Stony Skunk. After hearing Epik High, he decided to become a rapper. He began writing music lyrics at 13 and had a part-time job at a record studio when he was 17. After that began arranging music, rapping, and performing. Before being signed by Big Hit he was well known as an underground rapper using the name Gloss. As part of the hiphop crew D-Town in 2010, he produced "518-062", a song commemorating the Gwangju Uprising. Suga originally joining Big Hit as a music producer and trained for three years alongside members J-Hope and RM. Suga has over 100 song registered in the Korea Music Copyright Association as a songwriter and producer, including Suran's "Wine" which peaked at number two on the Gaon Music Chart and won best Soul/R&B track of the year at the 2017 Melon Music Awards. [Source: Wikipedia]

J-Hope: rapper Real Name: Jung Ho-seok: Birthday: February 18, 1994. J-Hope was born and raised in Gwangju and has an older sister. Before debuting with BTS, he was part of the underground dance team Neuron and took dance classes at Gwangju Music Academy for six years until his first year in high school, when he signed his contract with Big Hit Entertainment at age 14. J-Hope was well known for his dancing skills prior to his BTS and won a number of awards including placing first in a national dance competition in 2008. After that he started working on his singing, and trained to be an idol.

Jimin: vocalist:Real Name: Park Ji-min; Birthday: October 13, 1995. Jimin was born and wnt to school in Pusan and has a younger brother. During middle school, he attended Just Dance Academy and learned popping and locking dance techniques. At Busan High School of Arts he was a top modern dance student. After a teacher suggested he audition with an entertainment company, he ended up with Big Hit Entertainment.

V: vocalist: Real Name: Kim Tae-hyung: Birthday: December 30, 1995. V was in the Seo District of Daegu, and grew up in Geochang County. He is the eldest of three children, with a younger brother and sister. V first aspired to be a professional singer in elementary school, and eventually began taking saxophone lessons in early middle school as a means of pursuing the career. V's father supported his musical ambitions V became a trainee for Big Hit Entertainment after passing an audition in Daegu.

Jungkook: vocalist: Real Name: Jeon Jung-kook; Birthday: September 1, 1997. Jungkook was born and went to school in Busan. He has an elder brother and originally dreamed of becoming a badminton player but decided to pursue being a singer after seeing Big Bang’s G-Dragon perform "Heartbreaker" on television. In 2011, Jungkook auditioned for the South Korean talent show Superstar K in Daegu. Though he was not selected, he received casting offers from seven entertainment companies. He eventually chose to become a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment after seeing BTS’s RM perform. To improve his dance skills in preparation for debut, he trained at Movement Lifestyle in Los Angeles. In June 2012, he appeared in Jo Kwon's "I'm Da One" music video and also worked as a backup dancer for Glam before his debut. He graduated from Seoul's School of Performing Arts, an arts high school, in 2017 as BTS was becoming successful.

BTS’s Music and Literary Inspirations

Among their musical inspirations, BTS members have cited Seo Taiji and Boys, Nas, Eminem, Kanye West, Drake, Post Malone, Charlie Puth and Danger. Suga is a big fan of Queen, saying he "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. [Source: Wikipedia]

BTS have also cited a number of famous writers and artists as inspiration. Their album Wings (2016) was inspired by Hermann Hesse's novel “Demian.” Their song "Blood Sweat and Tears" (2016) quotes Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The music video for the song features visual references to Herbert James Draper's “The Lament for Icarus” and Pieter Bruegel's “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” and “The Fall of the Rebel Angels.” The single "Persona" from the album “Map of the Soul” features a solo in which RM references Carl Jung.

BTS co-write and produce many the songs as well as songs for other artists. Their musical style has been described as "fusion music" with an emphasis on hip hop and melodic hooks. Their music is rooted in RM’s and Suga's past as underground rappers and have worked primarily with the producer Pdogg.. Their earliest releases 2 Cool 4 Skool and O!RUL8 in 2013 are considered old-school, Seo Tai-ji and Boys-style hip hop on. As the band grew their imputs became more eclectic. In 2014, Skool Luv Affair and Dark and Wild there had a more R&B and rock feel. String arrangements and EDM could be found in their The Most Beautiful Moment in Life album series (2015–16). Wings (2016) features neo soul, moombahton and gospel. You Never Walk Alone (2017) has Latin pop, future bass, and jazz influences. In the Yourself album series (2017–18) and Map of the Soul album series (2019–20) you can find funk, trap, Afro pop, pop rock emo rap, rap rock, nu-disco, and pop rap touches.

On BTS’s 2017 single ‘DNA’, Jon Caramanica wrote in the New York Times: “Peak hypercolor pop from the current boy band kings. BTS has had the most significant crossover into the American mainstream of any K-pop artist, having collaborated with Desiigner and Steve Aoki, and won a Billboard Music Award last year, a first for a Korean act. [Source: Jon Caramanica, New York Times, February 7, 2018]

AJ Willingham of CNN wrote: “There are plenty of uber-popular K-pop groups and artists who have courted international appeal in the last few years (BigBang and Psy come to mind). So why has BTS in particular seen such unprecedented success? One popular theory is that their music tends to be particularly introspective, emotional, empowering and hyper-aware of the machinations of perfection and conformity that often drive the K-pop industry. Even their 2014 debut single, "No More Dream," was an anthem against conformity: “What is you that you dreamed of? Who do you see in your mirror, I gotta say: Go your own way.” One of their most recent singles, "Idol," celebrates individuality and confidence: “I know what I am, I know what I want, I'm never going to change...You can't stop me from loving myself.” [Source: AJ Willingham, CNN, April 14, 2019]

BTS’ American Debut in 2014

Their first inroads into America were in Los Angeles, where they held their first U.S. concert for free in July 2014 before 200 people at the Troubadour nightclub, where the Byrds, The Doors, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Eagles, Carole King, Love, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and , James Taylor boosted their careers. resting officers was Sherman Block, who would later become Los Angeles County Sheriff. Buffalo Springfield debuted at the club in 1966 and John Lennon and his friend Harry Nilsson were thrown out in 1974 for drunkenly heckling the Smothers Brothers. In August 2014, BTS made their first appearance at KCON in Los Angeles.

According to “In their final episode of their reality show American Hustle Life, BTS traveled to America to learn more about hip hop culture. Their final mission involved handing out flyers on Hollywood Boulevard, inviting random passerbys to come to their free concert. The hyung line printed out 200 copies of flyers that the maknae line were to distribute. Jimin said that they had two strategies. One was to insist that someone come to their concert by telling them, “Come on man!” while the other was to tell a pretty passerby “I want you to come see my concert.” Despite not being fluent in English, the members still persevered in trying to promote their group to strangers. Jungkook noticeably did a great job, garnering a lot of attention from passerbys for his charisma. Additionally, he emphasised that the concert was free which led to more interest from the people.” [Source:, May 4th, 2019]

In August 2014, BTS released their first Korean studio album, Dark & Wild, which featured grungy electric guitar sounds around a hip-hop structure and lyrics that focused on teenage frustrations and longing for romance. During production of the album, BTS recorded their single "Danger" in a makeshift studio in a garage in Los Angeles. In later part of 2014, BTS played halls and theaters in Seoul, Kobe, Tokyo, Manila, Singapore, and Bangkok.

BTS in Japan

BTS debuted in Japan in 2014 with concerts at halls in Tokyo and Kobe. Their first Japanese studio album, Wake Up (2014), released December of that year, peaked at number three on the weekly Oricon Albums Chart and sold 28,000 copies. Along with re-recorded Japanese versions of older songs, it also contained the original tracks "Wake Up" and "The Stars." In support of the album, BTS held their 1st Japan Tour 2015 Wake Up: Open Your Eyes in February 2015 to an audience of 25,000 fans in four cities. Their fourth Japanese single, "For You", was released in June 2015 to celebrate the first anniversary of their Japanese debut and topped Oricon's daily chart, selling over 42,000 copies within its first day. BTS later performed at Japan's Summer Sonic Festival. In December 2017, BTS made their Japanese TV music show debut on TV Asahi's Japan Music Station Super Live. In early 2018, BTS received their first double-platinum certifications in Japan.

Akiko Komai wrote in the Yomiuri Shimbun: “The band members deeply value their Japanese fans. When they performed for fans at Yoyogi 1st Gymnasium in Tokyo in November 2016, they mostly spoke Japanese throughout the event, which lasted almost three hours. It delighted participants, who were mainly girls and women in their teens and 20s, but also included people of other age groups. At the event, which was meant to be a sort of talk show, the band performed 12 songs. For the encore, the fans sang the band’s “I Need U” to entice them back to the stage. [Source: Akiko Komai, Yomiuri Shimbun, January 2017]

“Going to their concerts is recommended, but first watch one of their official music videos on YouTube. You will probably be amazed with their video “FOR YOU” due to their perfectly coordinated dancing and powerful rapping. The song was released as an original single for Japan in June 2015 and was their first single to top the Oricon weekly chart. Their rhythmic dancing was so impressive that it was named “hanibara dance” (flower petal dance). “YOUTH,” their second album released in Japan also topped the Oricon album chart.” in 2016.

“The band members are also interested in Japanese culture. When asked which Japanese artists they would want to perform with, SUGA mentioned Ryuichi Sakamoto, while RAP MONSTER said he wants to play with SEKAI NO OWARI. “JUNG KOOK and V are big fans of Japanese anime. JUNG KOOK says he likes “Howl’s moving Castle” and “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day,” while V’s favorite is “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.”

International Success for BTS in 2016 and 2017

From May to August 2016, BTS visited 10 cities and performed before 144,000 fans. The group performed at KCON France in Paris on June and headlined both sold-out U.S. KCON shows in Newark in June and Los Angeles in July. In May they became the first K-pop group to receive their own Twitter emoji. In November, BTS won their first major Korean award for Album of the Year at the 8th Melon Music Awards.

BTS second Korean studio album Wings, released in October 2016, was a major breakthrough for the group. Over 500,000 copies were sold in the first week after its release. The album was praised by critics. Rolling Stone called it "one of the most conceptually and sonically ambitious pop albums of 2016." The main single "Blood Sweat & Tears" became their first number one hit on the weekly Gaon Digital Chart in South Korea. The music video for the song garnered over 6 million views within 24 hours, setting a record for the highest number of views of a K-pop group music video within 24 hours on YouTube. Wings opened at number 26 on the U.S. Billboard 200, the highest chart ranking ever for a K-pop album,

Coinciding with the release of the single You Never Walk Alone, BTS launched their second world tour in 2017. The tour stopped in 12 countries including Brazil, Australia, Japan, and U.S. and thr group played before 550,000 fans. On this tour, BTS moved up from halls and theaters to arenas and domes. Tickets for the North American leg sold out within minutes and two additional shows were added, making BTS the first K-pop act to sell out arenas in the United States. At the Billboard Music Awards in May BTS won Top Social Artist, making BTS the first Korean group to win a Billboard Music Award.

In July 2017, BTS released a remake of Seo Taiji and Boys' 1995 classic "Come Back Home" to celebrate Seo Taiji's 25th anniversary. Seo Taiji arguably launched the K-Pop phenomena in 1992. At a concert at Seoul Olympic Stadium Seo Taiji acknowledged the similarities between BTS' his music and is own and recognized the group as his musical successors, declaring, "This is your generation now. Show them." Around this time Love Yourself: Her EP, debuting at number seven on the Billboard 200 with 31,000 album-equivalent units. In Korea, the EP sold over 1. million copies. Next came the single "DNA", whose video broke the previous record for most viewed K-pop group music video within the first 24 hours with more than 20 million views on YouTube. "DNA" was group's first entry on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching 67, the highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 for a K-pop group. The following single "Mic Drop (Remix)" peaked at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first top 40 entry for a K-pop group on the chart. Both "Mic Drop Remix" and "DNA" went gold, and "Mic Drop" went platinum in November 2018, making BTS the first Korean group with a Platinum-certified single in the United States.

In November 2017, BTS became the first K-pop group to perform at the American Music Awards and Guinness World Records recognized BTS as "having the world's most Twitter engagements for a music group" in its 2018 edition. In December, the group became the first K-pop group to perform on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

BTS Make it Really Big in 2018

In May 2018, BTS released their third Korean-language studio album, Love Yourself: Tear in conjunction with an appearance at the 25th Billboard Music Awards. Love Yourself: Tear was one of BTS' most successful albums. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 with 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 U.S. albums chart, and the highest-charting album by an Asian act. [Source: Wikipedia]

In August 2018, BTS released their second Korean compilation album Love Yourself: Answer. The album contained the lead single "Idol" and the alternative digital release featuring Nicki Minaj. The album received generally positive reviews, with Billboard calling it a "masterful culmination of years of work and rife with meaning" and "undeniably a magnum opus from BTS that few other artists, boy bands or otherwise, ever can hope to achieve." The record sold over 1. million copies in South Korea on the Gaon Album Chart in August 2018, breaking the chart's all-time monthly record once again. The album became BTS' second number-one album on the U.S. Billboard 200, 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 did in 2013 and 2014.

In conjunction with Love Yourself: Answer's release in August 2018, BTS launched their third world tour, BTS World Tour: Love Yourself, with a landmark concert in the Seoul Olympic Stadium, the largest stadium in South Korea. On tour this BTS moved up from arenas to stadiums. Their final stop in North America was Citi Field in Queens, the first time a Korean act performed at a U.S. stadium. All 40,000 tickets for the stadium date sold out in under 20 minutes. According to StubHub BTS was one of 2018's best-selling concerts in international markets outside the US, second to only Ed Sheeran.

In January 2018, tickets for BTS’s Singapore concert were resold by scalpers for up to US$9,300 — nearly four times the face value of the most expensive seats Not long after that their single ‘Save Me’ passed 300 million YouTube views. In 2018 BTS became the first group since The Beatles to earn four US number-one albums in less than two years. Love Yourself: Answer (2018) was the first Korean album to go platinum.

In September 2018, BTS became the first K-pop group to address the United Nations when they delivered a three-minute speech during the launch ceremony of UNICEF's global partnership Generation Unlimited. They talked about their 'Love Myself' campaign, which was launched in partnership with UNICEF and focuses on global education and the prevention of youth violence. "Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction," Kim Nam Joon, aka RM, said during the address. "No matter who you are, where you're from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself." [Source: AJ Willingham, CNN, April 14, 2019]

BTS Gets Even Bigger in 2019

In April 2019, BTS was compared with Beatles when they celebrated three Billboard No 1 albums in a year with the third being ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’, released in April 2019. The feat of three Billboard No 1 albums in a year at that time had only been achieved by The Beatles in 1995-96 and the Monkees in 1967. BTS claimed its first No 1 with “Love Yourself: Tear” in June 2018. “Love Yourself: Answer” topped the chart in September 2018. [Source: Korea Times, April 25, 2019]

"Boy With Luv", released in April 2019, recruited American singer Halsey and climbed into the Top 10 of the Hot 100, the album topped the Billboard 200, becoming BTS' third number one in a year. BTS’ ‘Boy With Luv’ becomes fastest video to hit 100 million YouTube views. In June 2019, BTS became first K-pop band to play at Wembley Stadium in London, doing two concerts there and playing in front of about 90,000 fans.

In early 2019, BTS played in front of 52,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in California and performed at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. The Billboard Music Awards appearance, according to CNN, “was a coming-out party of sorts, and since then, they've been everywhere; on "Ellen," on the "Late Late Show with James Corden," and on the cover of virtually every major entertainment magazine ever.” “BTS also holds the Guinness World record for the most music video views within a 24-hour period (records that had previously belonged to One Direction's Harry Styles and Taylor Swift, respectively). [Source: AJ Willingham, CNN, April 14, 2019]

BTS’s Noisy ‘Saturday Night Live’ Debut

In April 2019, BTS made a big splash when the group appeared on Saturday Night Live. Nellie Andreeva wrote in Deadline: “K-Pop mania hit Saturday Night Live tonight when BTS became the first South Korean act to perform on the NBC sketch comedy series. Even the show’s host, Oscar winner Emma Stone, in her fourth time emceeing, conceded the spotlight in her opening monologue, which she started with a “check of the sound levels” by saying “BTS is here” to an eruption of screams from fans of the pop band who had packed Studio 8H. Colin Jost dropped BTS’ name to a similar reaction during Weekend Update, with laud screams also accompanying the band’s performances. [Source: Nellie Andreeva, Deadline, April 13, 2019]

That is a natural reaction, Stone revealed to Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. “I just saw their soundcheck today, and I involuntarily screamed,” she said. “I’m actually not kidding. It came out of my body. It was like, ‘Ahhh!’ It was like a chemical reaction that happens. They’re incredible.” The septet did not make a cameo in a sketch, which is customary for musical guests, but they performed two songs, showcasing their signature elaborate, synchronized choreography. That included their new single “Boy With Luv,” featuring Halsey, for the first time as well as their 2018 hit “Mic Drop.” We won’t see the overnight ratings until tomorrow morning, but #BTSxSNL was quickly trending atop Twitter worldwide. SNL is known for taking a chance on young performers with strong following. The recent episode with host and musical guest Halsey drove up the ratings.

In the summer of 2019, fans were stunned when BTS announced an “extended hiatus”. The break was short lived. By September BTS members had regrouped for an engagement.

BTS Is Peaking: How Long Can they Keep it Up

In March 2020 BTS’s fourth full-length album,“Map of the Soul: 7,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. By then a lot of people were asking how long could they keep it up. Jon Caramanica wrote in the New York Times:“Map of the Soul: 7” No. 1 Billboard debut chart is “only one indicator of the group’s still-growing global dominance. In the past few years, BTS has become the worldwide standard-bearer for pure pop, a collection of seven members who are charismatic, limber and, most crucially, game for the level of work and ambition required to be mega-popular at home, in the United States and almost everywhere in between. [Source: Jon Caramanica, New York Times, March 4, 2020]

“BTS is soaring so high, it might not seem on the surface like it’s navigating particularly tricky waters. But the relentlessness of the group’s success obscures the fact that it’s on the cusp of two key transitions: a decreasing reliance on hip-hop and an increasing flirtation with high-profile English-language collaborators. “7” ends up as a kind of referendum on the sort of pop megalith BTS is becoming, and what it might have to leave behind on the way.

“BTS members have broken off for cross-border solo collaborations — say, RM on the “Seoul Town Road” remix of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” or J-Hope’s update, with Becky G, of Webstar and Young B’s proto-viral 2006 hit “Chicken Noodle Soup” (with a remarkably exuberant video).

“To wit: On the group’s recent “Carpool Karaoke” segment, it ably handled hits by Post Malone and Bruno Mars, but there was also playful tension, especially with Jin lightly dragging James Corden, as well as his bandmate RM. We know where BTS came from and what it has become, but we’re only just beginning to see what it might splinter into.”

BTS’s “Map of the Soul: 7”

In his review of “Map of the Soul: 7”,Jon Caramanica wrote in the New York Times: “As a whole, the strong but not particularly unruly “7” is less sure-footed than “Love Yourself: Tear,” the group’s last full-length, from 2018, and the first K-pop album to debut atop the Billboard album chart. “Tear” showed BTS to be ambitious maximalists with an extremely wide comfort zone: pop-EDM, Southern hip-hop, 1990s R&B and the sort of pyrotechnic galactic thumpers that the genre privileges.” [Source: Jon Caramanica, New York Times, March 4, 2020]

“Having shown just how much it’s capable of, BTS narrows its focus here. On the one hand, the group is chameleonic — on “Boy With Luv,” it partners with Halsey for a saccharine neo-disco adventure; the squelchy “Make It Right” is written partly by Ed Sheeran and does an effective job of containing BTS’s exuberant energy in one of Sheeran’s signature neat packages. “Louder Than Bombs,” a slow, moody, almost gothic number and one of the album’s best songs, is written partly by Troye Sivan, Allie X and Leland.

“The singing on the patient ballad “00: 00 (Zero O’Clock)” — especially by Jungkook and Jimin — is impressive. And as usual, BTS’s rappers shine on “7.” “Interlude: Shadow,” performed by Suga, has strong eau de Drake, and the J-Hope track “Outro: Ego” pulses with chipper aerobic big-band energy. Perhaps the best song on the album is “Ugh!,” a barnstormer that features RM, J-Hope and Suga, and sounds like a collision of Outkast-era up-tempo mayhem with Travis Scott-era syllabic impressionism.

“Not every song on “7” is effective, particularly the limpid “Moon” and the chaotic “On.” (Also, some of these songs were previously released on the 2019 EP “Map of the Soul: Persona.”) But in general, “7” captures a group sure of its place in the pop hierarchy and beginning to itch about what to do next — unsurprising, given that BTS is reaching the point of self-awareness that all superstars eventually reach, but can often be hidden in the hyperstylized world of K-pop. “Map of the Soul: 7” demonstrates how the superstar K-pop group has grown into a musical monolith — and what it might have to leave behind.

BTS in 2020

In 2020, BTS had a a record-breaking year with three No.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the first K-pop group to ever receive a Grammy Award nomination. According to Reuters: The group wrapped up the year with a Year's Eve online concert with Halsey, Lauv and Steve Aoki, who have all collaborated with BTS and joined on a special stage by connecting remotely. In the year end event the Seven-member BTS took part in a short online fan meeting, reading messages and playing a game, which fans could toggle to among multiple screens. "I hope you wrap up the end of the year well, and I'd like to see you in person soon," Suga said. The concert, at Goyang, northwest of Seoul, was originally scheduled to be held simultaneously online and offline, but in-person attendance was canceled due to a new wave of COVID-19 infections in South Korea. [Source: Joyce Lee, Reuters, December 31, 2020]

In September 2020, BTS' first-ever English-language single "Dynamite" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. BTS scored another historic No. 1 debut on the Hot 100 with their latest single "Life Goes On" from their Billboard 200 No. 1 album BE. "Life Goes On" becomes the first Hot 100 No. 1 in the chart's 62-year history sung predominantly in Korean. [Source: Heran Mamo, Billboard, December 1, 2020]

In December 2020, BTS was named Time Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year. Associated Press reported: “BTS has had more than just a “Dynamite” year — they've become such a global phenomenon that Time magazine named them as its 2020 Entertainer of the Year.... The magazine cited BTS' massive global presence amid the pandemic, including leveraging their massive fan base to support causes like Black Lives Matter. [Source: Associated Press, December 11, 2020]

The group has become a staple of recent awards shows, performing their flashy No. 1 hit “Dynamite.” The song in November brought BTS its first Grammy nomination. “There are times when I’m still taken aback by all the unimaginable things that are happening,” BTS member Suga told Time for an interview that accompanied the announcement. “But I ask myself, Who’s going to do this, if not us?”

On BTS’s album “Map of the Soul: 7", Kat Moon wrote in Time: “Produced during the pandemic, Be brought calm and comfort to many this fall. But BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7, released back in February, is the septet’s artistically intricate masterpiece of the year. The generous offering of 20 tracks spanning an hour and 14 minutes allowed listeners to digest and dissect its complexities as the world transitioned to a period of isolation and quarantine. The album cycles through moments of introspection on BTS’ seven-year journey — from reflecting on the beginning of their career (“We are Bulletproof: the Eternal”) to boldly declaring that they welcome the pain that comes with their current level of fame and success (“On”). “Black Swan” is the project’s most arresting track: over serene guitar plucks, the members express the disturbing fear of losing passion for their craft. “The heart no longer races when hearing the music play,” Suga raps. “Oh that would be my first death I been always afraid of.” [Source: Kat Moon, Time, December 12, 2020]

South Korea Passes 'BTS Law' Allowing K-Pop Stars to Postpone Military Service

In late 2020, the South Korean Parliament passed 'BTS Law' , allowing K-Pop stars to postpone military service. Heran Mamo wrote in Billboard: “BTS didn't just blaze a trail for emerging K-pop acts, they've inspired South Korea’s Parliament to not stop them in their tracks. Jin, the oldest member of the K-pop boy band, turns 28 on December 4, but the celebration could've marked an end to his career. [Source: Heran Mamo, Billboard, December 1, 2020]

South Korea’s “previous law required all able-bodied men to enlist in the military for approximately 20 months upon turning 28. But three days before Jin's fateful birthday, South Korea's National Assembly passed a revision of the Military Service Act that allows K-pop stars to postpone their military service until they're 30.Lawmakers proposed the revision in September after BTS' first-ever English-language single "Dynamite" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The so-called "BTS Law" buys Jin two more years to perform with BTS during their incredible run.

“The new law allows K-pop entertainers to apply for deferment if they've received government medals for elevating South Korea's cultural influence around the world. All seven members of BTS qualify after being awarded the country's Hwagwan orders of cultural merit from the government in 2018 during the Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards. For decades, top South Korean athletes who've competed and won medals in the Olympics and Asian Games were temporarily excused from the country's sacred military conscription because they boosted national prestige. Award-winning classical and folk musicians were also given this luxury on the same grounds, but male K-pop stars finally get to join their ranks.

In September 2019, it was announced that BTS members would not be exempted from South Korea’s compulsory military service. Ben Kaye wrote in Consequence of Sound: “A number of BTS fan groups lobbied the government to exempt their beloved idols, but The Hollywood Reporter has official word that no such exception will be made. There is legislation that allows certain individuals to avoid service. In the past, exemptions have been issued for Olympic medalists and other such accomplished international athletes and artists. Since 2009, 178 athletes and 280 artists have been allowed to opt out of serving (via Billboard). However, in the music sphere, only classical artists such as pianists and violinists have historically been eligible for such exclusions. [Source: Ben Kaye, Consequence of Sound September 21, 2019]

“This limitation could be changing, but as a South Korean Ministry of Defense official told THR, there’s currently no timeline. “The Ministry of Defense is currently debating with related authorities on improving the current alternate service [program] in place of conscription, but nothing has been decided as to when a change may take effect,” they said.”

BTS Army

BTS fans call themselves ARMY. AJ Willingham of CNN wrote: “Like all boy-band devotees,” they “are incredibly loyal. ARMY (not "the Army," educate yourself) is like any other massive fan group with a cool name, but with everything dialed up to 11. Since BTS has international and cross-lingual appeal, being a part of ARMY is as much about interacting with and supporting other fans as it is about supporting the group. ARMY members from across the world will gather online at all hours to watch and enjoy a BTS appearance in a different time zone, or translate different BTS news and interviews so more fans can enjoy it. Memes, handmade products, fan art and fan fiction also connect ARMY members across the globe. [Source: AJ Willingham, CNN, April 14, 2019]

“Unfortunately, the sheer size of ARMY also means there's a high potential for toxic drama, unhealthy obsessions and online abuse between members, as well as intense animosity toward anyone who dare speak ill of BTS. Of course, that kind of behavior is hardly endemic to BTS, K-pop or the music industry (hello, all sports ever). It just may be more noticeable with a fandom that's massive, non-centralized and highly social media-savvy.

Social media has been very important “in uniting BTS with their fans, and the fans with each other. Only one member of BTS — Kim Nam Joon — speaks English fluently, though several others are conversational, so social media is an ideal place to connect with fans. Not to mention, there's a rich and rather hilarious meme culture among ARMY members, who tend to be young women already fluent in the esoteric vernacular of the internet.Every time one of the boys in BTS does something weird, adorable or relatable, it almost instantly becomes a reaction meme or an in-joke or some other little part of a vast and ever-expanding K-pop discourse that spans distance and language.” [Source: AJ Willingham, CNN, April 14, 2019]

“From winning their first music show to entering the Hot 100 chart, BTS' fans have been there for it all. .. It’s been a long road for the former underdogs, and the main constant in the boy band’s career has been their fan base, ARMY, who have watched the group go from handing out flyers for their shows on their reality show, American Hustle Life, to selling out the Olympic Park Gymnastics Arena in Seoul” in 2016 [Source: Caitlin Kelley, Billboard, September 25, 2017]

BTS ARMY Timeline

Caitlin Kelley wrote in Billboard: “Here’s a timeline of stand-out milestones that BTS couldn't have accomplished without ARMY: May 5, 2015 - First music show win for “I Need U” on “The Show”: In a February 2015 interview with The Star, BTS revealed that winning a show was their biggest goal of the year. And they didn’t have to wait long, as they earned their first win three months later. During a May 8 interview, Suga said, “The trophy was very heavy when we received it. I don’t mean the actual weight [of the trophy], but I felt a sense of responsibility to develop even more and work even harder after receiving the award.” [Source: Caitlin Kelley, Billboard, September 25, 2017]

“May 15, 2016 - First Inkigayo win: “While “I Need U” racked up wins on three other music shows — M Countdown, Music Bank and Show Champion — the music show Inkigayo still eluded them. However, they brought home their first Inkigayo win with “Fire" after ARMYs cracked the 60 percent digital sales portion of the chart's winning formula.

October 10, 2016 - All-Kill for "Blood, Sweat and Tears": An all-kill is one of the hardest achievements to pull off in K-pop as a group has to shoot to No. 1. on all of the charts at once. According to Soompi, “‘Blood Sweat & Tears’ was in first place on the music charts Melon, Mnet, Bugs, olleh, Soribada, Genie, Naver Music and Monkey3. In addition, all 15 tracks from the album have taken the top 15 spots on Melon, Genie, Mnet and Naver Music.”

December 2, 2016 - Artist of the Year at Mnet Asian Music Awards: “BTS won the highly coveted "Artist of the Year" award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in 2016 with the help of ARMYs. In an emotional acceptance speech, Rap Monster struggled through tears to thank his fans and crew, while the typically stoic members Suga and Jungkook broke down.

May 21, 2017 - Billboard Music Awards: “Fans pleaded for BTS to be invited to the BBMAs, where they won the award for top social artist — this was the event that introduced the boys to future-collaborators like The Chainsmokers and made them better known in America after member Jin went viral as the cute one "third from the left" and the widespread news coverage that followed. Notably, their awards speech was used as a skit on Love Yourself: Her.

August 13, 2017 - Choice International Artist at Teen Choice Awards: Although some ARMYs were upset that BTS was barely mentioned during the ceremony, this award was a sign that the group’s breakthrough in America at the BBMAs was not a one-off win.

September 18-23, 2017 - Fastest K-pop group to get 10 million, then 20 million, then 30 million, then 40 million, then 50 million views for “DNA”: “DNA” also became the 6th most-watched music video within a 24-hour period, knocking Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” out of its spot.

September 24, 2017 - First K-pop group in Top 10 on Billboard 200: On Sunday, Love Yourself: Her became the first K-pop album to break into the top 10, placing at No. 7. BTS previously charted on the Billboard 200 four times, breaking the last record for highest-charting K-pop album with Wings at No. 26.

September 25 - The group's first entry into the Hot 100: During a Sept. 18 press conference, Suga said, “The number of stock pre-orders for our previous album was 700,000, but we had no idea that it would be 1.12 million [for this album]. We also want to appear on the Billboard Hot 100.” In response, ARMYs went to work, coordinating around Billboard chart guidelines so that they could maximize their efforts to help BTS’s chart performance. After hearing the news, Rap Monster tweeted, “We did it !! Just heard it from studio thank you soooo much for everything aRMy XD””

Chinese Boys Train to Be ‘Real Men’ to Conteract BTS Idol Effect

The government in Beijing has become worried that the popularity of BTS and other makle K-Pop groups was turning Chinese boys and young men into ‘sissy pants’ men who wear make-up and earrings. Some Chinese parents have taken a a hard-line approach and sent their kids off to boot-camp-type programs to make sure they are tough guys. [Source: Associated Press, May 8, 2019]

Associated Press reported: “China’s boy bands and celebrities are influenced by K-pop idols from South Korea like BTS. People such as Jackson Yee – with their delicate beauty, dyed hair and haute couture wardrobes – have a massive following among women in the country. But China’s state-run media condemns the young idols, calling them “sissy pants” and “young fresh meat”. The backlash deepened after a back-to-school TV programme featured the boy band F4. Angry parents attacked the Education Ministry’s decision to hold up the cosmetics-wearing young men as role models; state media warned that a “sick” and “decadent” culture threatened the future of the nation.

In 2019 “a Chinese videostreaming website even started blurring earrings worn by men. “The gender stereotyping is not just about gender identity itself,” said an author and researcher on Chinese masculinity. “It’s about the reproduction of the nation and how to properly cultivate the next generation.” Dr Song Geng of the University of Hong Kong said the fear partly reflects deep-seated insecurity about Chinese power, after historical humiliations such as the opium wars and domination of Chinese rulers by foreign imperial powers. “They’re worrying that if Chinese men are so effeminate … then we will become a weak country in future and we cannot compete with our rivals,” he said. “There’s anxiety about the virility of the nation being harmed by those effeminate male images.”

BTS Endorsements

BTS as one would suspect has numerous global endorsement deals in various industries with various products. The group partnered with Puma beginning in 2015 to promote its sportswear as Puma Korea's brand ambassadors before expanding to become global ambassadors in 2018 and promoting the Puma's "Turin" and "Sportstyle" line worldwide. In 2019, BTS signed with Fila to endorse its sportswear. Mattel broke the internet when it released a line of BTS dolls. The dolls wear outfits worn by BTS in the music video "Idol". BTS was the first male pop group ever to collaborate with the fashion designer Dior. [Source: Wikipedia]

BTS has also served as global brand ambassadors for LG Electronics' 2018 LG G7 ThinQ telephone, and for Hyundai Motors' 2019 flagship SUV the "Palisade" and hydrogen fuel cell electric SUV, the "Nexo". Due to BTS' endorsement, Hyundai received almost double the anticipated domestic order volume for the Palisade. In 2020, BTS partnered with Samsung Electronics, releasing a limited BTS-themed version of the Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy Buds+.

In the Internet and gaming industry, Nexon released character avatars based on BTS for their RPG game Elsword, and BTS worked with DalcomSoft to release the rhythm game Superstar BTS in January 2018, as well as with Netmarble Games for the story-based, mobile simulation game BTS World released in June 2019. BTS has done work for the Indonesian e-commerce company Tokopedia, BTS has partnered with popular Korean communication app Line, to create new Line 'characters' called BT21. The collaboration initially produced emojis and electronic stickers, but later expanded to include fashion apparel, footwear, accessories, and other merchandise. Line flagship stores opened throughout Seoul before spreading across the global market into Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States.

BTS has worked as brand spokespersons for KB Kookmin Bank, one of the four largest banks in South Korea. Their collaboration generated the opening of over 180,000 accounts. Coca-Cola Korea used BTS in their ad campaign during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In the tourism, BTS has served as brand models for Lotte Duty Free Shop and honorary tourism ambassadors for Seoul as part of the 'I Seoul U' program. In the beauty and apparel sector, BTS have had a relationship with uniform brand SMART since 2016 and promoted the cosmetics brand VT Cosmetics, vitamin supplement brand Lemona, the contact lens brand Play/Up, face mask brand Mediheal, and massage chair brand Bodyfriend. The group published the webtoons Hip Hop Monster and We On through the Nate Webtoon portal and Save Me in collaboration with LICO and Line Webtoon.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.

Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2021

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