Turning specifically to BTS, they without a doubt check all of the boxes for mainstream K-pop success. The seven members of the band — RM, SUGA, Jin, J-Hope, V, Jimin, and Jungkook — are some of the best singers and dancers in the industry right now and always have their aesthetic locked in. Their numerous photo shoots
and choreography videos
are proof of this. What seems to put BTS on top, however, is their ability to authentically connect with their audience, oftentimes in ways that run contrary to the standards set by large record labels.
One specific way that this manifests itself is in the songs released by the group. While HYBE Labels (formerly known as BigHit Entertainment) does hire songwriters to produce many songs, including "Dynamite"
, the guys are given the freedom to write and produce their own music. Their most recent album, "BE", released near the end of 2020, features songs written by individual members of the band and compiled together to form the album
. They are not afraid to address issues of mental health, isolation, loneliness, fear, and topics that other artists may shy away from out of concerns that they may disrupt the fun, catchy, upbeat liveliness that is indicative of the industry.
"BE" is also not the first album of theirs to highlight the vulnerability of the group. Previous songs like "Outro: Tear", from their 2018 album "Love Yourself 'Tear'", tells the story
of how the band almost broke up and how the members coped with the associated worries and fears. Their willingness to be open and honest with each other and their fanbase (lovingly referred to as their ARMY) could be a large factor of their success.
Along these same lines, the members of BTS often participate in reality shows and other television specials to highlight their unique personalities and give audiences a taste of what they are like behind the scenes and beyond the stage. Examples include their web series "Run BTS"
, which has been running for almost five years now, and "BTS In the Soop"
, which aired in 2020. These extra experiences have allowed ARMY to see a fuller picture of the band and connect with them to a deeper extent, with fan loyalty proving invaluable to the rise of all artists, especially BTS.
Surely, there are countless other reasons that can help explain BTS's meteoric success. No matter what the reasons are though, there is no doubt that the band has achieved something monumental. Through all of the ups and downs, BTS has always showered their ARMY with the most love and appreciation, never missing an opportunity to thank their audience, even going as far as to shout them out in their songs or write ballads about how they miss performing for ARMY. Other K-pop groups, and even American and Western musicians, may have a lot to learn from BTS as their impact grows larger and larger, not necessarily through fancy awards, but through genuine, authentic connection.