K-Pop may stand for Korean pop music, but the genre has no language berries and has been a world sensation with diverse fans. The most successful K-Pop band to break into global music is Beyond the Scene, better known as BTS. They are the first Korean group to top the Billboard 200 list and they just broke the record for the most viewed video on opening day- surpassing 86.5 million views in 20.5 hours.
The record was previously held by Blackpink’s “How You Like That,” which registered 86.3 million views in the first 24 hours. Even though most people in America don’t understand Korean, in 2019 the band kicked off the “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, selling out the over 90,000 seat venue. The group has 7 members that rap, dance, and sing about self-love. Their success has been compared to that of The Beatles.
The video breaking records is for their first song in English called “Dynamite.” Earlier today it was announced BTS broke the record for the highest number of live YouTube viewers for a video premiere. The video had a live premiere at midnight EST and there were literally millions of people waiting. According to Variety, the video drew more than 3 million live concurrent viewers on YouTube when it dropped.
Right after its debut, it had 4 million views. According to singer RM they weren’t planning on releasing the song until they were preparing for their next album. In an online press conference RM (Kim Nam-joon) explained, “As soon as we heard it, we thought it was really fun and exciting, a fun and cheery song that wasn’t that serious. It just made us feel good when we heard it.” “We really wanted to share this energy with the fans as soon as possible” he explained.
The group’s success has been described as a global phenomenon. Billboard pop correspondent Tamar Herman wrote about the group’s unprecedented success in a book called “BTS: Blood, Sweat & Tears.” In an interview with Forward, Herman credits much of their global success to how active they are on social media. Herman explained ‘They release content pretty much every day, there’s either videos coming out, or they’re on their apps talking to fans. They’ve figured out a way to always be part of the conversation.”
Herman also touched on the activism and political statements that K-pop fans have been making. In June K-Pop fans went viral after taking partial responsibility for tanking Donald Trumps rally in Tulsa by claiming thousands of tickets with no intentions on showing up. Herman explained, “The first song on BTS’s YouTube isn’t a BTS song, it’s the member RM rapping for people to go and vote.” She continued, “K-Pop fans used to raise funds to build schools in Africa and Latin America and name them after their favorite K-pop star. There’s definitely forest-planting campaigns named for K-pop stars. BTS are saying ‘we want to leave the listener and ourselves as a better person through these songs.’ Their company slogan is ‘Music & Artist for Healing.’ That says a lot.”
The band clearly has a devoted following and their fans are called ARMY, short for “Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth.” The group tweeted about the music video in Korean, which translates “You‘ve been waiting a long time! Please love Dynamite a lot ♥ Thank you and thank you for waiting ARMY.”
The top comment on the video is an acronym describing the “BTS ARMY” that says,
B - Be polite, we are the face of BTS
T - To ignore unnecessary fan wars
S - Spread positivity!
A - Always respect one another
R - Refrain from being negative
M - Move forward and don‘t dwell on hate
Y - You are an ARMY? Spread the love!
A tweet by ChartData said that although the record is not official until YouTube’s final count, it‘s expected in the next few days.