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  • Gabrielle Radmore

Riding The Hallyu Wave of Music: BTS and KPOP

BTS is the first KPOP group to chart on the Billboard Top 200 with a Korean song, showing that America is now riding the new wave of Korean influence.

Previously, BTS, or Beyond The Scenes, had won the Top Social Artist award, gaining 200,000 more votes than second place with 300,000 votes in total, and was the first KPOP artist to win a Billboard Award. Their mini-album, Love Yourself: HER, charted at #67 on the Billboard 200, gaining 20+ places on the chart in a week. The album sold 1 Million plus copies in two weeks, aswell, proving further that the influence on the music industry is growing at a steady rate.

Back in 2012, the artist PSY topped the Billboard 200 chart with “Gangnam Style,” and stayed on the chart for 57 consecutive weeks. This marked a high point for KPOP in the U.S. as the video became the first YouTube video to hit a billion views and held the title for most views ever until “See You Again” topped the chart in 2015. However, the wave had already started when boy bands such as EXO, BIGBANG, and SHINee rose to the top of the KPOP charts from 2013-2015 and ruled the YouTube views, introducing people to a new genre of music after being shown PSY’s hit.

BTS became the biggest artist of the third generation in 2015 with the release of The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Part 1 that propelled the group to their first win on a music show with their single “I NEED U” and immediately showed the world that despite not being from the top three companies, a group needs talent and charisma to win the hearts of millions. In 2016, BTS released WINGS, their first Billboard charting album that propelled their fame to the U.S. when they attended the 2016 Billboard Awards and won a award.

Their YouTube videos became some of the most viewed of the month and broke the record for fastest KPOP video to reach 50 million views. When their 2017 mini-album HER released, they became the fastest KPOP group to reach 80 million views and the fastest KPOP group to reach 70 million as well. The rise of YouTube streaming sent them up the charts and solidified their placing on the Billboard charts and gained an 11th ‘All Kill,’ where their songs top every chart, in just two weeks.

Currently, BTS’s total sales are expected to rise, as well as have more influence after rumors from the company of a 2018 World Tour. Their talent has already been shown after collaborating with The Chainsmokers, and a future, confirmed collab with artist Steve Aoki, that it is expected for them to boost the music industry’s diversity and showcase foreign talent. With the ability to be nominated for a Grammy award, BTS’s influence over America will help solidify KPOP’s place in the American charts.

Artwork: By AJEONG_JM ( [CC BY 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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