South Korean boy band BTS has written a new chapter in the history of K-pop by topping the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The domestic and international media and celebrities have heaped praises on BTS for their achievement. “It is a splendid feat that further raises pride in K-pop,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in in his congratulatory message to BTS, adding it is all the more meaningful since the song “Dynamite” is written to deliver the message of consolation and hope to the people around the world suffering from COVID-19.
BTS’ quest for Billboard chart success started back in 2016 when their album “WINGS” debuted at No. 26 on Billboard 200 chart. The South Korean boy band has put four albums on the top of Billboard 200 chart since 2018. But dominating the top spot on Billboard Hot 100 did not seem easy. Their previous record was set when their song “ON” ranked No. 4 on Billboard Hot 100 in March this year. Topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart is a surprising feat, even considering that the act has reached the Hot 100 with 11 tracks for the past three years and three songs from their recent album found their way to the Hot 100.
Billboard counts U.S.-based radio airplay, physical single sales, streaming, and YouTube views every week to apply to its charts. The Hot 100 chart ranks the most popular tracks of the week in the U.S. It attracts the most public attention among all of the Billboard’s charts.
Dynamite’s record-breaking views on YouTube have played a key role in topping the Hot 100 chart. Dynamite, which was released on Aug. 21, has broken the record for most views on YouTube in 24 hours, with over 100 million views. Billboard began applying YouTube views to its charts in 2013.
In 2012, Psy failed to overtake American rock band Maroon 5 on the Hot 100 chart with his sensational song Gangnam Style as it received less radio airplay. BTS’ performance on Spotify, the biggest music streaming platform in the U.S., has helped achieve the feat. Dynamite has become the first K-pop song to reach No. 1 on Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart and No. 3 on U.S. Top 30 chart.
Another factor that played a role in BTS’ Billboard success was carefully planned localization strategy. Dynamite was the act’s first ever all-English single. The boy band had a pride in breaking the language barrier with Korean lyrics but they have decided to try something different this time. They worked with British composers and lyricists whose abilities have already been proven in the U.S. market.
BTS also considered the timing of release. Dynamite was released at 1 p.m. on Friday in Korea, which was 12 a.m. on Friday EST. According to the New Music Friday campaign that began in the U.S. and Europe in 2015, most of pop artists release their new songs on Friday to attract more attention. BTS has appeared on major U.S. television shows and award ceremonies since 2017 to expand their local base. Another factor that cannot be taken lightly was the enthusiastic and remarkably unique K-pop fan culture that has spread to the BTS’ fandom A.R.M.Y. In an era of multi-account, multi-platform, and multi-device, artists who have a religiously loyal fandom are able to compete with popular artists, and this trend has influenced music charts as well.