Now Reading
BTS’ visit to the White House sets a shining example for K-pop idols everywhere

BTS’ visit to the White House sets a shining example for K-pop idols everywhere

“I figured I’d make you feel at home,” says President of the United States Joe Biden as he thumbs through a touchscreen tablet. Delivered in his signature unhurried pace, the sentence has likely been dispensed countless times to dignitaries and politicians of world-bending significance. But on a fine Tuesday last week, his audience was a group of twenty-something idols who collectively identify as BTS—all dressed in sharp suits, letting loose a disbelieving whoop of joy as the chorus of their hit single ‘Butter’ filled the iconic walls of the Oval Room.

Instagram content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

This historic moment is just one in a long series of milestones that punctuate the boy band’s meteoric ascension in pop music. Featuring RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and JungKook, the staggering success of the septet is often, and perhaps unfairly, tethered to metrics. The headlines write themselves: BTS becomes the first Korean music act to receive international recognition at the Grammy Awards! BTS’ ‘Dynamite’ sets a new Guinness World Record as the fastest video to reach 10 million views within 20 minutes of release! Reports estimate that BTS brings in $3.6 billion to the South Korean economy! If the BTS fandom (known as ARMY for Adorable Representative MC for Youth) were to form a real-life army, there would be enough people for 18 armies! Oh, and have you heard about the time that the fandom rallied to raise $1 million for the Black Lives Matter movement within a day?

Many have attempted a glimpse at the levers that manoeuver the band’s unfathomable success—including the finest minds at Harvard Business School that released an in-depth analysis of the group’s global popularity. But to merely sum up BTS’ success in the context of their record-breaking singles and other arbitrary statistics would be a disservice to the work they have put in to shift the tectonic plates under the highly regimented, and often exploitative, K-pop idol industry. Who’s ready for a history lesson?

See Also

How BTS defied all odds to reshape the identity of K-pop idols

The year is 2013, and music producer Bang SiHyuk is ready to debut the band he has brought together, known as Bangtan Boys or BTS. In a tale that is fated to fetch a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival someday, the odds have been stacked against the group from the beginning. The multi-billion-dollar K-pop industry has been long monopolised by the big three—SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and YG Entertainment—making Bang SiHyuk’s Big Hit Entertainment something of an underdog. Without the industry-defining pull of an established name, how would the modest start-up live to see its first anniversary? Armed with hopes and dreams, yes; but also a clutter-breaking approach to the idol industry.

Read More

© 2020 CANDOUR

Scroll To Top