From July 18th to August 22nd last year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism conducted a survey asking about an image that comes to mind when thinking about Korea. According to the survey of 8,000 people from 16 countries, including Korea, ‘K-pop & Singers’ received the most votes with 12.5 percent of the responses. Through the efforts of K-pop singers who are expanding their scope not only in Korea, but also abroad, K-pop is becoming more widespread around the world. Among the K-pop artists, BTS has been the most successful in branching out into the United States, gaining the huge popularity not only in Korea, but also around the world making the K-pop sensation stronger.
On March 1st, 2020, Billboard officially announced that BTS’ fourth full-length album, ‘Map of the Soul: 7’, topped the main ‘Billboard 200’ album chart. By achieving this accolade, BTS has written a new history of K-pop. BTS first entered the Billboard chart in December, 2015 when its ‘Hwa-yang-yeon-hwa pt.2’ album reached 171 on the ‘Billboard 200’ chart. Since then, all their new albums have reached the Billboard chart, charting at 171 to 61, and then eventually accomplishing number 1. This time, it even reached the first place on two separate occasions. BTS not only attended the Billboard awards ceremony, but also appeared on the famous Ellen DeGeneres talk show, and even spoke at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. These facts show that BTS’ popularity and influence are immense.
When BTS made its first debut on the Billboard charts in 2017, Billboard introduced BTS as a musical gift box combining various factors such as music, choreography, music videos, and each member’s self-expression. BTS’ songs are not just simple songs. They have a lot of messages in each song. They also want to recreate those messages through performances and to share those messages with the audience. RM, one of the members of BTS, said, “I think it is a time when our personal stories can become global”. Another member, Ji-min said, “I hope our songs and albums will continue to be empathic and to move the minds of many people, just as many artists have done so far”. The whole world and especially the younger generation are sympathetic to their songs, which reflect the members’ thoughts and beliefs.
BTS’ seven years of painstaking efforts have paid off. Thanks to their efforts, Korea, along with K-pop, is becoming more and more popular around the world, and K-pop singers are helping Korea to build a positive image.