[Article] 170526 [Column] The splendid achievement they achieved with their "Blood Sweat & Tears". About BTS winning the Billboard Award

[Kim Sungdae's Music Note]

On May 21st, group BTS became the first KPOP group to win the "Top Social Artist" award at the "2017 Billboard Music Awards".  This award chooses its winner based on the sales of digital music and albums, streamings, the number of radio plays, and concerts for a year period, and including the global fan voting which began on May 1st, known as the social participation index. BTS was chosen as the final winner of the award by winning against other nominees like Justin Bieber who reigned this category since it was created back in 2011, Shawn Mendes, Selena Gomez, and Ariana Grande. Setting aside the racism which isn't even worth to mention about, it seems like it's partially true that BTS's winning at this year's BBMA was influenced by the sudden increase in Hispanics who have similar emotions like Koreans in the US population. They have watched and supported BTS equally like the group's Korean fandom. The team who is doing well enough in Korea even won an award at the Billboard and now this literally is "The Rise of BTS".

However, if you look at this splendid achievement as a mere luck, miracle or an extraordinary event- I'd like to avoid such thoughts. In other words, BTS did not reach where they are today without any preparation and effort. The group's company Bighit Entertainment CEO Bang Sihyuk asked BTS that was created with Rap Monster as the core to walk their own future with their own ability instead of the work and name value they receive from Bang Sihyuk's own group of composers and producers or other famous composers. And BTS members fundamentally had to be artists who loved music and performance. CEO Bang's policy was that people who want to think and do music as their goal and not as means could continue to stay with him and others who don't agree with him should walk away without any second thought. Of course, BTS harshly polished themselves and in the end, they reached the victory stand at the Billboard Awards Ceremony. 

Spontaneity and familiarity. Those might also be the core secrets behind BTS's popularity and success. They emphasized "over 27 minutes of running time despite it being a single album" when they debuted. They were an idol group who created their own mixtape and the members made the aim set by their company, "to have the ability to compose, write lyrics, stage directing and producing by themselves" as their own goal. They tried to talk with their album and they really spoke with their albums. Most of all, BTS believed they should be able to talk their honest stories with music which lead to writing their own lyrics and they worked hard to "fill their lyrics with sincerity rather than swag". Through their series albums, they deeply touched the hearts of the fans who belong to similar age groups with their storytelling and the freestyle rapping they showed us with "Outro : Circle Room Cypher", their SNS to interact with their fans, and their powerful "Paldogangsan" satoori rap which boldly displays their hometown. In the end, they achieved everything in one context. The issue that troubled CEO Bang to create a successful hip hop idol group that was nonexistent in the industry was, "How do we reach our target?" and the answer to this question slowly appeared fans derive from BTS's spontaneous gestures and their interaction.

And most importantly it was their passion. CEO Bang wanted BTS to be members who want to be musicians and not just celebrities. Instead of popularity and fame, he prioritized their passion and interest for music. Fortunately, all members of BTS were fans of hip hop/black music and they weren't just fans, they were hardcore fans. People often assume that idols are interested in things besides music but at least BTS is an exception. They have the ability to discuss the Nas VS Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and DMX, and Dynamic Duo. They also know how to apply Moombahton which is a combination of reggaeton and house music, to create a hit song like "Blood Sweat & Tears". Labeling idols as products created by companies to merely do the things they tell them to do is similar accusation like defaming director Park Chanwook and Lee Changdong's movie as "arson" even now.

CEO Bang Sihyuk once told us that his own philosophy and view of the world are infused in BTS. And he said he considers show industry- concert as his top priority. This is because he believes that there are no chances of winning with only music and album. BTS successfully ended their South and North America tours recently. They sold out 100,000 copies of tickets and the ticket bought by Russell Crowe to a Hollywood child actress Kylie Rogers. Chile reported that BTS's concert tickets were sold out fastest in history. Just like what the music critic Shin Hyunjoon said, KPOP is pop music made in Korea for the countries outside Korea (made in Korea for non-Korea). In other words, "the material background is export directed culture economy" (Gayo, KPOP and beyond them"). This shows that BTS and CEO Bang have really made good use of this factor and became the successful example. As someone said, BTS didn't change the history of Billboard but it's definitely true that they did rewrite the history of KPOP after PSY.

This wasn't luck nor miracle. BTS worked harder than anyone and the reason why they won the Billboard award was the result of the generous love their fans showed them. They really worked hard as if "they squeezed their blood", just like what Bang Sihyuk told us. Every debate that surrounds BTS's success should all begin from this point.

Original article here
Response +887

1. I think we're able to relate to their music more because they express their own stories with their own music. I support you to continue writing the new history +650 -6

2. I'm touched even by articles like this.. We've been through a lot... I guess that is why. I don't agree with every word in this article but I'm grateful to you for writing this article because it seems like you have written this after researching bout BTS in many ways~ ^^ this wasn't just luck or miracle.... ㅎㅎ +602 -6

3. hing thanks for the nice article. BTS is really a group that gives me strength. I didn't think I'd fall into an idol in my mid-20s.. ㅜㅜ their lyrics are really healing and all their contents make me happy ㅠㅠ +552 -5

4. the endless effort by BTS, the deep connectedness they share with fans, and their passion as an artist makes BTS improve and be successful. This is never about finding the right timing or just because they are lucky. istg BTS will grow bigger and they will fly higher +514 -4

5. We're finally seeing some good articles today! I pressed the heart (like button). BTS, continue doing the music you love!! ARMYs will support you ^^ +501 -5

6. Thank you for the nice article. I'm sure you could write any article as a columnist but someone saw BTS's success as just the general victory of KPOP... I really couldn't agree to that. Even I was a  person who wasn't interested in idols but from some point after watching their stage, music, and passion I fell in love with them for who they are. They don't appear often on variety shows so the public might not find them familiar? but I think they have the capability to grow bigger in the future. Of course, their passion,  musicality and seeing them never losing their original intention made me relate with them. I hope you will continue to provide us with good music to listen to without getting tired or sick. I will always support you :) +128 -3

7. "Sincerity instead of swag".... "talked with their album"... this makes me so touched ㅜㅜ music is what defines BTS the most and this makes me so proud of them as a fan +125 -2

8. I'm a person who disconnected myself from all idol music prior to liking BTS. That phase naturally came to me when I passed 20. But now I'm looking at the idol music in a different light because of BTS. I realized that Korea's idol market is looking for a much more talented artist than before after listening to the self-composed/written/produced songs of these idols. I think we have a firm stereotype of idol music that makes us to skip their songs always... I would suggest you to try listening to the idols'songs if you find good ones because that's what we listeners should do! +117 -2

9. As their fan, I was a little frustrated by the little interest and response the Korean media showed compared to the foreign media regarding BTS's BBMA nomination and winning. I was disappointed to see people considering this unimportant because it was only a popularity vote but reading such column made me pleasant..! thank you and I read it well :) +103 -1

10. wow I think this article really shows the journalist's genuine thoughts. I think this is one of the few articles that really explain the true value of BTS!! Thanks for the column!! ^^ BTS's music will continue! I will continue to watch and cheer! +103 -2

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