I took a walk into the f.y.e. store in East Brunswick recently and they had a small bin of BTS posters .... ugh, posters aren't what they used to be ... I once had four of the 24 x 36 S.I. posters outside and inside my bedroom (Len Dawson, Daryl Lamonica, Don Maynard and Joe Kapp). f.y.e. had a small K-pop section of CDs and misc. media, while BTS had a dedicated display from top-to-bottom. The best (or worst) part were three different Mediheal mask boxes on the racks. I picked one up and looked over the instructions on the back ... there was no indication on it that this is a woman's-only product, which did not surprise me in the least.
BTS - meh. Try IU, 2NE1, Big Bang (and the individual members), Psy (the earlier stuff, before Gangnam Style), Mamamoo, AKMU, T-ARA, 4-Minute, f(x), EXID, Bolbbalgan4, SNSD, Jeong Eunji...haha, I could go on. HYUKOH for Korean Indie...
Well, BTS has gone one better than PSY, not only becoming the first K-pop act to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but DEBUTING at #1. It would figure that their first English language hit would be the song to achieve this milestone.
"Amazing" because you can probably count on two hands the number of Asians who have ever been on the cover of fashion mags in this country. Or Asian Americans for that matter. I'm sure Lucy Liu has done it, and probably Awkwafina or Constance Wu once or twice. I recall Korean actress Doona Bae being on a cover with Scarlet Johansson. But a Korean language pop group? Crazy.
Found Doona on the cover of US Vogue last year. According to an article, she was the first Korean to ever feature on the cover of that mag.
BTS is the undisputed standard bearer of K-pop these days, and recently became the first such act in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to not only top that chart (PSY's "Gangnam Style" peaked at #2 for several weeks because Maroon 5 were in the way) but DEBUT at #1, which only a few dozen acts have ever done. That it took their first all-English single "Dynamite" to accomplish that feat speaks more to the myopic view of radio station program directors as the lack of airplay for their previous hits kept them from placing as high as they deserved. There is a growing sense of urgency in accomplishing as many goals as possible since their eldest member, Jungkook, turns 28 next year, at which point he must fulfill his mandatory military duty; the other members will be obligated to enlist in turn so fans will be deprived of the lads for the better part of 2 years. Given that inevitability, other groups are jockeying for position at the top, and BlackPink certainly are in pole position. Being a girl group they're not subject to South Korea's mandatory military service. The one handicap they have is that they're under contract with YG Entertainment (best known for Big Bang, 2NE1, Winner and iKon), whose management has been in turmoil over the Burning Sun scandal (see that thread for a primer) and that has BlackPink's fans clamoring for better treatment of the group, with some even suggesting that they go to a different label. The girls have placed in the Hot 100 with both of their hit singles this year, "How You Like That" and their recent collaboration with Selena Gomez "Ice Cream". Other groups that are in the top echelon are NCT127, Monsta X, Twice, Red Velvet and SM Entertainment's project group Super M, which consists of members drawn from 3 different groups. As many of you are aware I met Billboard columnist Jeff Benjamin 4 years ago at KCON'16 in Newark and following him on Twitter and Instagram at @jeff__Benjamin is a must for keeping up with the latest news on K-pop.
Hot on the heels of their first Grammy nomination AND their third Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit (and the first ever #1 in the chart's history that's primarily in Korean) comes this early birthday present for the older members of BTS from the National Assembly:
With BTS sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the SIXTH CONSECUTIVE WEEK with their most recent English language track "Butter", a run likely to be broken by the release over the weekend of their collaboration with Ed Sheeran "Permission to Dance", it's time to ask again the burning question: why won't American radio play more K-pop aside from the Fab 7?
Vox published this exhaustive article to help explain:
According to that article, KPOP is doing huge numbers on every platform except radio. With all the ways to get music these days, do kids even listen to radio anymore? Apparently not. Toward the end of the article, it points out that “Top 40 had its worst ratings in 25 years."
I'm no expert, but it seems that KPOP is also an important visual medium, with some pretty elaborate dancing that kids like to watch and imitate. Can't do that listening to radio. But they can repeatedly watch a YouTube video to get those steps down.