[Article] 170523 [BTS's Billboard Occupation①] BTS who convinced the US, they could be a very underestimated idol in Korea

"There might be people who feel hostile towards us even now but I believe that's something we have to bear. I think this will depend on how well we do and if we can show them good results so I want to continue producing good results."

This is BTS's (Rap Monster, Suga, Jin, J Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook) aspiration revealed during the interview with Newsen after the release of their second full album "WINGS" last October and in just 7 months, they have set another new record that will remain in the history of K POP and proved their aspect as the "growing idol". This is an achievement that surprised the fans around the world and the officials in the industry regardless to one liking or disliking the group.

BTS won the "Top Social Artist" award at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards held on May 21st at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, US. They are the second singer after PSY (who won the Top Streaming song, Video award four years ago) to win an award at the "BBMA", the awards ceremony that is known to be strict on Korean singers and BTS is the first KPOP group to win an award.

This category chooses the winner by adding up the digital song and album sales volume, streaming, number of times the song/s was/were played on the radio, no. of shows and social participation index, etc collected during a year period and the global fan votes which began on May 1st. After ranking #1 on "Social 50" last October 29th, BTS topped the chart 24 times, surpassing Justin Beiber who owns a strong local fandom and surpassed Justin Bieber once more with an overwhelming number of votes, introducing KPOP to a greater number of people. Nominees for the category included other global stars like Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande which makes their winning more unrealistic.

When the Korean medias were informed that a Korean singer had won an award at a prestigious US music awards ceremony, they scrambled to report the news. Perhaps, this could be the moment when the group's receiving the hottest spotlight since their debut in Korea. They not only achieved the highest ranking (#26) among KPOP artists on one of Billboard's main chart, "Billboard 200", they set an unprecedented record in KPOP history by entering the chart with 4 consecutive albums. BTS also has gained meaningful results like entering the TOP 10 in US iTunes' main single chart "Top SONGS", and entering the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart at #15.  Since then, major local media like The New York Times reported BTS's US tour back in March and other major foreign media like Times and People Magazine, CNN, BBC, Nikkan Sports made reports on BTS winning the Billboard award, even more in detail compared to the Korean media.

Hitmaker Bang Sihyuk producer who previously worked in JYP Entertainment established Bighit Entertainment company in 2013 and created the 7 member idol group with the message to defend against bullets "bulletproof" and the members' average age was 19.7 during their debut which made them "Boy Scouts". The group began their promotion with the group name "Bulletproof Boy Scouts" that expressed their intention to protect themselves from the prejudice and suppression of the world. However, it's true that their unique group name created a stereotype that had nothing to do with their music, thus not giving them the freedom. 

Nonetheless, they continued to make their own BTS style music just like their group name and proceeded to construct their own world. The members were fully aware of the prejudice the public had against them that had nothing to do with their talent and they humbly accepted this fact and without fearing this, they ran forward with the determination to break this stereotype with good music. Their "School trilogy", the two-part "HYYH" series and the "WINGS" series that released last October and February embraced and comforted the pains felt by youths in same age group living in this generation and aroused sympathy by boldly pointing out the irrationalities of this world at times.

If you asked, "Why did it have to be BTS?" we could provide you with answer like they have heartwarming visuals, ability to communicate with global fans, intense performance, and various other answers but in the end, we evaluated that BTS's performance surely contrasts from a few other groups who offer the typical love songs or showy self-boasting raps. Although they don't have an official English version album released in the US, the message that transcended language and the genre loved by the locals could be the reasons why BTS could convince the US listeners.

Even during the moment when they are congratulated by fans around the world for winning the Billboard award, people who underestimate or feel they're not used to BTS's music and stage will still exist. Although it's meaningless to differentiate idols and artists today, some might be desperately struggling to bring down BTS's achievements only with the title "idol group". However, just like how the members have said for the last 4 years, the members will believe that it's their duty to slowly convince them. All we have to look forward now is how much higher can they fly by shattering the prejudice some still hold against them with their upgraded music.

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