[Article] 161102 [Man in Culture] Global contents strategy... Seizing the sensitivity of young UK and US listeners

Trend "BTS"'s strength, from where

If you compare the number of times the following artists were searched on Google (BTS (blue), EXO (gray), Big Bang (white))

The countries BTS topped the chart in general or genre chart


When Agent 7 (journalist Lim Heeyoon) heard this word for the first time in 2013, she was quite surprised.

"Are they the little superheroes ready to bounce off bullets on Earth?", the moment she was going to do a background check on them, she stopped herself when her colleague agents talked sense into her . "I can't work overtime at night. They're just an idol group. Created by Bang Sihyuk producer…,"

I- idol…, but what's with their group name..., they aren't some secret peacemakers who appear on kids' TV shows. But this "boy scouts", grew up in gigantically rapid speed and they finally "did" it.

According to the music service "Genie",  the number of times BTS's recent second full album "WINGS" was streamed on their service is almost 1000 times (942 times) higher compared to their debut album "2 COOL 4 SKOOL" which released 3 years ago. This is based on the information collected after 30 days since the release of the album. The group recently debuted at #26 on Billboard 200 (album chart) and recorded the highest charting result as Korean artist.

"We tried to create globally relatable contents from the beginning. I assumed that the sensitivity of the youths in UK and US would be similar to ours." (Bang Producer) That could be true but still. Agent 7 is curious to find out how BTS reached top 30 on Billboard in just 3 years.

○ "Hardcore fans who go out of their ways to purchase albums, there are many in the US too"

According to Billboard, the first-week sale of "WINGS" was 16000 unit. 5000 unit is the converted figure of digital streaming and number of downloads into CD sale. Billboard 200 made changes in 2014 December to incorporate streams and track sales. Even if we subtract 5000, BTS sold almost 11000 physical copies. Jessica Oak, Billboard Korea Reporter said, "this is possible" and nodded her head. "11000" "16000" is the reflected sales figure in the US. Of course, "Big Bang" would be the popular KPOP group, generally. However, there are many US fans who follow BTS when they don't know about other K-POP artists and this is their characteristic. BTS could have more loyal fans who would buy their albums compared to Big Bang.

○ They keep SNS short, but long album -music video

How did they form such ardent US fandom? Kim Yoonha, Pop music critic, paid attention to their music style. "For instance, their second full album title track "Blood Sweat & Tears" doesn't feel too foreign and it blends in with the US songs in the chart. It fits perfectly with the current pop trend and the melody sounds uniquely Korean too.".

Their two-track strategy which brings familiarity and mysticism played an important role. BTS has been uploading 1 minute short "Bangtan Bomb" videos on their Youtube Channel since their debut. Bangtan Bomb is an alluring series that shows daily lives of the members. They spread fast because they are short. BTS recently also topped "Social 50" Billboard chart. This chart ranks the most active musical artists on the world's leading social networking services and BTS even ranked higher than US popular singer Ariana Grande.

It was their extra base hit (albums and music videos) strategy that was carried out along their base hit (social media) strategy. "School trilogy", "Youth trilogy", their series albums extended the fans' curiosity who were captured by one of their series. The music video of "Blood Sweat & Tears" which helped them to enter Billboard 200 is 6 minutes and 4 seconds long. It's almost double the length of usual pop music videos. The playful members on Twitter sang in front of "Pietà" sculpture in the music video and narrated lines from "Demian". BTS recently ranked No. 4 in Music category in Global Chart by Youtube and their music video for "Blood Sweat & Tears" reached 40 million views just 3 weeks. 

All of a sudden, Agent 7 remembered the dream she couldn't fulfill  and she started singing along the following line. What happened to my passionate youthful days, the days when I thought I could bounce off bullets too. "My blood, sweat and tears/ take all of my last dance away"

That moment, a sharp booming sound that sounded like a bullet that has been waiting all this time divided into the air.

(to be continued...)

Previous article by them here
Original article here
Response +391

1. BTS is a group that has to do well~ +274 -2

2. BTS is really different compared to other idols. Our sentimental Rap Monster, I can't believe how thoughtful he is when he's still so young.. BTS, I hope you guys fly higher and higher!! +232 -1

3. is this the stream of consciousness? ㅋㅋ BTS fighting! I wish I could read the next episodeㅋㅋㅋ this is refreshing +231 -1

4. Articles like this, I love them. I love articles written from a different perspective ^^ BTS has the charms to make ahjummas like their lyrics +228 -0

5. Wow BTS let's only walk on flower road +218 -2

6. wow~ you just included the real details and facts in your article~ thank you~ I was in LA in 2014 Summer and I went to see Kcon... I was surprised after watching BTS who was the first artist to perform on stage.. I didn't realize their popularity in Korea but I'm not even lying, I think they had the most number of fans at the venue~ US audience sang along to their songs even when they don't appear on their tv~ ㅎㅎ +74 -0

7. I think they really have a lot of hardcore international fans +70 -0

8. BTS has to fly higher than now. We shouldn't measure them by their popularity. It's apparent that only songs from 3 big companies exist in Gayo industry and the media focuses only on them and puts them under the spotlight. People refuse to listen to idols' songs because they're "idols". Whereas, the public pays attention to the idols from the big companies. That's because the companies capture the public with variety show appearances and mediaplay. I think Gayo industry is caged by the music trend of the big companies. BTS will do better and grow bigger because they have already reached the global public  with their own music. +67 -0

9. Journalist~~ You really pointed out the main points in short and refreshing way ^^ thank you!!!! I want to learn more about BTS but it's frustrating because I don't see them often on variety shows or talk shows ㅠ I wish documentary shows would do a show about them~ As a fan, I wish I could learn more about BTS ㅋ +67 -0

10. As expected from BTS ㅋㅋ +64 -0

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