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How BTS Became A Major Moneymaker For South Korea

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12:05   |   Jul 10, 2019

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How BTS Became A Major Moneymaker For South Korea
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  • In 1964 an English boy band called The Beatles made its television debut
  • and changed the face of the music industry forever.
  • More than 50 years later another foreign import is doing it again.
  • Meet BTS a seven member South Korean boy band from Seoul.
  • The band has sold millions of albums and is one of the most watched artists
  • on YouTube.
  • Not to mention their stadium shows around the globe have quickly sold out.
  • It's estimated that BTS is worth about 3.6 billion
  • dollars per year to the economy of South Korea and more than 1 billion
  • dollars in consumer exports.
  • The idols as South Koreans call its megastars were the reason that 1 in
  • every 13 foreign tourists visited the country in 2017.
  • BTS even partnered with visit Seoul on a tourism campaign.
  • which were featured in videos for the campaign have become hot spots for
  • tourists.
  • Should beaches maintain their popularity they could generate 37 billion
  • dollars in economic value for South Korea over the next 10 years.
  • So how did BTS break the mold in South Korea and jump to the top of the
  • charts in the U.S..
  • BTS wasn't an overnight sensation debuting in 2013 the K-pop group took its
  • name from a Korean expression "Bangtan Sonyeondan" which translates to
  • "Bullet Proof Boy Scouts."
  • Although the acronym has since morphed to stand for beyond the scene a nod
  • to how connected the band is to its loyal fans known as "Army.".
  • So what is K-pop anyway.
  • K-pop is short for Korean pop or Korean popular music.
  • It's a music genre that blends together electronic, hip-hop, pop, rock,
  • R&B, and even rap.
  • The genre can be traced back to the early 90s but rose to popularity in the
  • 2000s.
  • It has since grown into a 5 billion dollar global industry.
  • Typically K-pop groups have gained a foothold in South Korea and throughout
  • Asia before trying to expand to a global audience.
  • But when they did travel abroad these trips were actually detrimental to
  • many of their careers because it ripped them out of the spotlight in their
  • home country.
  • So previous generations of K-pop idols Korea very much depended on TV as a
  • platform whereas BTS used social media to really kind of make themselves
  • available and visible and that can be done anywhere in the world.
  • But BTS did things a little differently.
  • The boys of BTS were signed to South Korean entertainment company Big Hit
  • Entertainment who had conducted the auditions that brought them together.
  • The group spent several years refining their dance moves and sound before
  • debuting in 2013.
  • Two band members Jimin and V hailed from the Korean Arts High School in
  • Seoul a private educational institution that has many K-pop idols as
  • alumni.
  • The school closed in February 2019 however as it was unable to keep up with
  • new and strict laws and decided to stop taking students.
  • Other performing arts high schools sometimes called K-pop schools remain.
  • Here young South Korean students practice their dance moves and polish
  • their vocal skills.
  • The boys hail from cities and towns from all over South Korea and were
  • brought together through a series of auditions in 2010 and 2011.
  • Big Hit Entertainment was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2007.
  • However it wasn't until BTS's launched that Big Hits' financials really
  • turned around.
  • By 2018 the company's profit soared 97 percent from the year prior hauling
  • in around 57 million dollars.
  • Revenue rose 132 percent from 2017 to 2018 and the company's net income
  • rose 105 percent year over year.
  • Much of this growth was due to how Big Hit first marketed betas to the
  • public.
  • Yes kind of circumvented traditional model of the viewing on TV music shows
  • and gaining visibility and rather they took a route of reaching out to
  • global fandom through social media directly.
  • So it is a band that gained fame and popularity overseas even before they
  • became superstars in Korea itself.
  • The band was given full control of their social media presence and we're
  • encouraged to live blog their practices and daily lives.
  • Social media has been playing a tremendous role not only into Korean Wave
  • but also in exchange and propagation of culture.
  • In fact Korean Wave including K-pop, K-beauty, K-food, movies, and games is
  • a worldwide trend now because of the social media and a U.S.
  • market is no exception.
  • In recent years the millennials have spent enormous time on social media
  • and a massive cultural content has been consumed especially the expansion
  • of Korean Wave on YouTube is the most powerful driving force.
  • Notably, none of the band members have their own individual accounts on
  • social media.
  • There's just one band account meaning the group's fan following is
  • concentrated on one account per platform.
  • On Twitter the band has more than 20 million followers on Instagram more
  • than 19 million.
  • And YouTube has just over 20 million as of July 2019.
  • This massive fan base isn't concentrated in one country or region; it's
  • global.
  • And that has been a major factor in BTS's success.
  • Their record label even gave the boys latitude to create their own solo
  • music.
  • BTS first arrived in America in 2014, to be part of a South Korean reality
  • TV show called "BTS American Hustle Life" which aired on a South Korean
  • network.
  • The show centered around the band living in L.A.
  • while learning more about Western culture and rap music from industry
  • veterans Warren G and Coolio.
  • Later that year BTS became the youngest artist to play L.A. K-con
  • on an annual festival that features the biggest K-pop superstars.
  • This performance garnered the group a lot of attention.
  • In 2017, BTS received its first billboard music awards for top social
  • artist. Nominees are artists that fans engage with the most on social
  • media.
  • The first one at the Billboard Music Awards in 2017 was a total shock to
  • the majority of U.S.
  • media because BTS captured the top social artist overtaking superstars
  • such as Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.
  • The Beatles were from Liverpool not from a rich background.
  • BTS is very similar.
  • Their daily lives it would be in the delivery room with friends every day.
  • They show that their lives are not much different from ours.
  • They are the same as us, they are real.
  • Otherwise they would never be able to gain this level of popularity.
  • The band also gained notoriety for their show stopping choreography and
  • highly stylized music videos.
  • In May 2019, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey nearly 100,000 people showed
  • up to watch the band perform shelling out between 55 and 250 dollars per
  • ticket.
  • Sales from the two shows reach more than 14 million dollars.
  • Earlier that month in Chicago attendance was around 88,000 at Soldier Field
  • over the two performances.
  • The band hauled in 13.3 million
  • dollars in ticket sales.
  • For comparison, Taylor Swift also played at Soldier Field earning 14.5
  • million dollars for two performances in front of one hundred and 5000 fans
  • each night.
  • Swift also played at MetLife Stadium, earning 22 dollars for three
  • performances playing to crowds of over 165,000 thousand.
  • In 2018, BTS has earned its first platinum certification for its song "mic
  • drop" and its first gold album for "Love Yourself: Answer."
  • Answer debuted number one on the Billboard 200 chart and was recognized as
  • the best selling album ever on South Korea's Goan Chart.
  • There are so sung not about love or broken hearts.
  • It's about identity, confidence, and loving oneself.
  • It is socially conscious message that's why we pull their music the music
  • of this generation.
  • This messaging is especially important as the K-pop industry has become
  • mired in scandal in recent years.
  • In early 2019 a number of prominent K-pop idols were named as being part of
  • an online group that shared sexually explicit videos of women filmed
  • without their knowledge or consent.
  • Many K-pop fans in Korea are discontent with labelling bikinis as
  • K-pop acts because they think BTS is more than K-pop and beyond K-pop.
  • Particularly at this moment when K-pop world in general is mired in very
  • severe scandal involving sex trade, rape allegations, and illegal drug
  • sales and what not.
  • BTS has partnered with UNICEF to stage campaigns against violence towards
  • children and teens around the world.
  • Last November, BTS launched the Love Myself campaign with UNICEF building
  • on our belief that true love first begins with loving myself.
  • We've been partnering with UNICEF's End Violence program to protect
  • children and young people all over the world from violence.
  • And our fans have become a major part of this campaign.
  • With their action and with their enthusiasm.
  • We truly have the best fans in the world.
  • In 2019 BTS continue to break records.
  • The group was the first K-pop band ever to perform on Saturday Night Live.
  • The band's most recent album "Map of the Soul: Persona" had more than 3
  • million preorders internationally and upon release went to number one on
  • iTunes album charts in 89 different countries.
  • Unlike other K-pop stars who mainly target Southeast Asia or Chinese fans,
  • BTS has targeted the U.S.
  • market directly.
  • The boy band has collaborated with a number of music heavyweights that are
  • popular in America.
  • Including Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, and Halsey and BTS isn't just taking the
  • music industry by storm.
  • Toys, apparel, and cosmetic companies are all benefiting from the band's
  • global fame.
  • BTS has partnered with Converse, Coca-Cola, Puma, and Hyundai in the form
  • of clothing lines and advertisements.
  • Not to mention BTS has collaborated with Funko on a set of seven Funko
  • Pops.
  • All the social media engagement we've had with any property this
  • year, BTS is number one and that's ahead of Game of Thrones ahead of
  • Avengers: Endgame.
  • So that's a surprise to us and it's a it's a huge win and we got a little
  • bit of how powerful the BTS brand could be at New York Toy Fair when we
  • start to see that was our number one instagrammed, tweeted, facebooked
  • item for that for that for the show.
  • So we're seeing diversity across who and what the K-pop fans are and I
  • think that's one of the reasons why the products are resonating at
  • different retailers.
  • I mean you can't get any more diverse from Barnes and Noble to Hot Topic to
  • Amazon.
  • Three very diverse retailers in all three are doing exceedingly well with
  • the BTS brand
  • It's clear however that BTS isn't just a passing fad.
  • The Love Yourself, Speak Yourself tour has reportedly made more than 100
  • million dollars in ticket sales averaging about 4.5
  • million dollars per show.
  • The group has been prolific about releasing new music.
  • Since 2014, BTS has released six studio albums and six EPs.
  • For comparison, the Beatles released 12 studio albums and 13 EPs between
  • 1962 and 1970.
  • Not to mention Beatles is the first band since The Beatles to have three
  • albums hit the number one spot in America in less than a year.

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Meet BTS, a seven-member South Korean boy band from Seoul. The band has sold millions of albums and is one of the most-watched artists on YouTube. Not to mention their stadium shows around the globe have quickly sold out. Should BTS maintain their popularity, they could generate $37 billion in economic value for South Korea over the next 10 years.

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How BTS Became A Major Moneymaker For South Korea