[Article] 170530 [After the interview] Is BTS that special?... The reason why they are different from others?

As a person who reports the "hottest" news of the day every morning in live, "Idol" was something I would hesitate to give up although it is of little interest. Being an idol is an object of envy to the point of viewers watching hundreds of trainees go through eye of a needle-like audition in live but on the news where we deal with reports for all generations, we have sufficient reasons to receive judging eyes that question us "aren't you trying to promote a certain group?" We stand in the center of pop culture but recently it's true that it's not easy for us to look at these idols who are created every day under the "Hallyu" title without giving them the judging eyes that they're for exports or a part of plannings. 

My email inbox has been filled with report materials sent by major companies with titles like "advancing to overseas", "#1 on the chart", "World tour" for quite some time. As a person who used to fill my coin bank to attend my favorite idol group's concert with my friends during school years and signed up for official fanclub memberships, I couldn't help but have some sort of cautiousness about the recent "Hallyu idols".

I don't know Korean but I know BTS

I don't understand all Korean but I know KPOP
I'm a fan of BTS

EBS World Theme Travel

Then one day, I had a somewhat unexpected encounter with "BTS" on EBS, an educational channel. On "World Theme Travel" program which I enjoy watching, a girl who lives in "Tahiti" warmly greeted the Korean staffs, "I'm a fan of BTS". A "BTS" special documentary would not be broadcasted in a small island and BTS's presence approached me very strongly for me to consider them as mere "Hallyu craze".

"Something was definitely" different about this idol group. I didn't see any news about them holding a showcase by collaborating with big local entertainment companies or artists and it was not like they had secured their position in the local industry with an overseas Korean member who was fluent in a foreign language. Their starting point was definitely different from big company trainees who make their name known to the public even before their debut thanks to splendid marketing.

Despite all this, they entered the Billboard main chart, "Billboard 200" with 4 consecutive albums. I searched for the New York Times news and found "How did they who sing and rap in Korean sell out two shows in New York?". Even the locals were curious to learn about their popularity.

"BTS" is that special?

Before meeting BTS, I had reported about this group's performance on the morning news three times. Last March, BTS began to occasionally appear in "foreign media" rather than Korean entertainment media. Their live interview with the "Billboard" that's known as the yardstick of world pop culture.

They announced their interview many times and of course, 17000 viewers connected to watch the live interview on SNS. They had the most number of viewers in the history of Billboard live broadcast. Besides the musicality which was already proved by their Billboard Album Chart entries, we could consider that the interest shown to "BTS" itself was beyond "World star" PSY.

Fortunately(!), surprisingly (!) BTS became the only Korean singer to be nominated at the Billboard Music Awards and when we heard that they had won the award people began to wonder, "What's so special about BTS?" and the atmosphere changed to, "It looks like they are special". People recognized they were a "news" beyond an "issue".

"Consistency and sincerity are the best contents"

In short, this is what BTS members expressed their Billboard winning. Nothing special other than consistency and sincerity. They didn't begin posting on SNS to show their daily life as a "tactic" but their consistency and performance on stages slowly began to see the light and that's how they achieved what they have today.

"We just aimed to talk about the generation we live in, and stories of youths. But no matter where you go in the world, the particular contemporary shared by the younger generation had this sentiment. This led our stories to reflect that similar sentiment shared in that certain part of the world and I think they showed interest to us because they felt, "these guys from Korea are talking about their stories with such great performances". We believe sincerity is the best contents." (Rap Monster)

"Adults" who have listened to the "school trilogy" "youth trilogy" songs and music videos would know this. The stories they tell us in songs are the dreams and thoughts even we had when we were young. Unlike the groups who release addictive hook songs as a part of their plan, we can say that more than anything the fact they sought to capture "the stories of our lives" helped them to expand their musicality worldwide. The narratives they unravel in their music was beyond just songs and music videos and made us relate and show interest to "BTS".

When I decided to introduce the difference between BTS and other idol groups through KBS main news when I get an opportunity, I was able to get in touch with BTS right before they arrived in Korea and we were able to schedule a brief moment. I think we could explain that even this indeed show that "sincerity" has worked.

"I think it's because times are better now."

"I think this era has greatly become better because whatever we talk about, the tweets we post, and whatever we say now get translated instantly and this is the era we're living in right now. This is why I believe you surely have a chance when you have good contents." (Suga)

Since the "Top Social Artist" award was formed, they are the first winner to personally receive the award on stage thus increasing their status. They are the #1 most influential artist on global SNS right now. Members continued to humbly explain that all this was possible "thanks to the better era".

It's true that the world has changed. Due to SNS, people around the world are able to shatter the language barrier, time barrier to communicating with each other and they also share their thoughts in real time. It's the same with music. Material superiority pushed to us by large capitals doesn't work anymore.

Twitter - 6 million 
Youtube - 3.3 million

BTS approached their fans any time with music and contents while they stood in the center of SNS. "Global Fandom" became a powerful support that's better than any other capital. BTS has surpassed 6 million followers on Twitter, millions of followers on "Youtube", "Instagram", etc shares their behind the music and stage stories and approached the fans as "friends you want to meet"rather than a mechanical idol. It was like BTS had provided places where they can share each other's stories.

"Shall we announce the appearance on KBS News?"

"Our BTS! What time will they appear on the news?" They did not only post several questions on the portal "ask your question" corner(!) yesterday, the reporter received an explosive number of inquiries via email. This was how the anecdote behind the yesterday's articles with the heading "It's been announced that BTS will appear on the KBS News" was created.

1 minute and 20 seconds are given to one news report. It's true that this is an insufficient amount of time to talk about BTS's musicality, contents, stories of the members, and various other things. We only had to focus on how they became the most influential artist on SNS to win the trophy by breaking the traditional entry route of KPOP,

"I'd like to boast about our fans, it's that we have so many grateful fans around the world who translate even when we post something in Korean. We work harder to meet their anticipation." (Rap Monster)

When BTS announce they will be appearing on the news via their SNS, how would this news spread? I remember the moment when I discussed the influence of followers and global fans with the filming reporter while we waited for our interview with BTS. At the end of the interview, Jungkook gladly accepted this "experiment".

Thousands of global fans didn't just press the "like" button, they translated this message into their own languages and we watched them carrying the news around the world. In other words, BTS has shown us that if you have the right contents you can become a global artist while performing only in Korea.

"We will sing in Korean. But we still need to study (foreign) language"

The language barrier is something we can't miss when we discuss " localizing". This used to be a must have trait we thought every global artist should have. Even if you have "good music" and "strong global supporters", BTS would have had difficult moments when they met the fans during world tour or during interviews with foreign press.

"We will firstly continue to release albums in Korea, we will continue to do songs with Korean as our main language and we will continue doing what we've been doing so far. Instead of thinking "what should be our next move since we're receiving such great response right now?", we should focus on doing good music." (Suga)

"Rap Monster" who is the member in charge of interviews continued with a somewhat serious answer.

"To express our gratitude, we will work harder by studying the local language. I memorized the two sentences for 2 hours prior to our first interview with Reuters in 2014. But as we continued to do more interviews, I wanted to do better and I feel responsible because we might be able to stand on the Billboard Awards ceremony and I don't want to stutter." (Rap Monster)

Millions of followers, the rebellion of dirt spoons, Billboard... BTS was mentioned with various modifiers. I "sincerely" await the day I get to report the moves of the group who have created a place for us to delightfully talk about the universal stories beyond the stereotypes of "idols".

Original article here
Response +1067

1. "Sincere" report and article I found in the flood of clickbait articles written by reporters who type with their feet just to increase the views. Thank you. +909 -3

2. oh thank you for the nice article ^^ I never imagined to see BTS mentioned in World Theme Travel... +702 -3

3. BTS who I'm proud of~ I always support you!!! +605 -2

4. Thank you for the article. BTS who I'm proud of~~ +566 -2

5.  euhehe even on an educational show ㅋ +523 -3

6. Compared to the many articles that tried to compare BTS with the present KPOP seniors like PSY just to increase the number of issue reports after BTS's success at the BBMA, this is objective yet an article that makes us realize the driving force of BTS themselves. Thank you for writing such nice article +180 -0

7. I was disappointed to see some articles mentioning BTS as one of the group who is benefiting from the KPOP wave. There are many idols who provide SNS and their own contents but as the article explained, BTS is able to receive more attention because there's something special about them +163 -0

8. I searched who the reporter was because the content was good and it's 김빛이라 (Shine Kim)-nim who reports Culture Plaza!! Thank you ^^ They appeared on EBS and a teenage girl in Greenland said she was a fan of BTS on a variety show too~ I heard that when you say you're a Korean when you travel overseas, many of them reply that they know BTS ^^ I'm proud of them~ +159 -0

9. The article is really nice. The article really captured BTS's sincerity and the reason why they're special- just like the title. Sincerity, and effort they make to interact and perform on stage is BTS's special charm. I hope more number of people will learn about BTS and listen to their music +159 -0

10. This is the best article I read compared to other articles I read after the BBMA. Thank you very much for quenching the thirst I had for the news appearance which I felt was short. +148 -0 

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