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BTS rises atop global pop music despite COVID-19 pandemic

BTS rises atop global pop music despite COVID-19 pandemic

Posted December. 12, 2020 07:58,   

Updated December. 12, 2020 07:58


Sensational K-pop star BTS has been selected as the 2020 Entertainer of the Year in recognition of its broad coalition and interaction with its fandom, ARMY, by U.S. weekly news magazine TIME.

TIME explained on Thursday (local time) why BTS deserved this year's title, writing, “And they did it in a year defined by setbacks, one in which the world hit pause and everyone struggled to maintain their connections. Other celebrities tried to leverage this year’s challenges; most failed. But BTS’s bonds to their international fan base, called ARMY, deepened amid the pandemic, a global racial reckoning and worldwide shutdowns.” Putting emphasis on the boy band's achievements, it stated, “BTS isn’t just the biggest K-pop act on the charts. They’ve become the biggest band in the world—full stop. Between releasing multiple albums, breaking every type of record and appearing in these extemporaneous livestreams in 2020, BTS ascended to the zenith of pop stardom.”

TIME described the foundation of BTS’ fandom by saying, “In an era marked by so much anguish and cynicism, BTS has stayed true to their message of kindness, connection and self-acceptance.” It highly praised that BTS built a community with its fans based on horizontality, as opposed to a top-down approach.

“I always wanted to become an artist that can provide comfort, relief and positive energy to people,” says J-Hope, a member of BTS. “That intent harmonized with the sincerity of our group and led us to who we are today.” Another member of the boy band, Jungkook, said that BTS climbed up from the very low to grow bigger with the fans, adding that the artist and its fans may read each other’s minds.

“BTS is not the first Korean act to establish a secure foothold in the West, yet their outsize success today is indicative of a sea change in the inner workings of fandom and how music is consumed,” said TIME. It diagnosed that the artist-fan relationship is changing the music industry upside down, saying, “From propelling their label to a $7.5 billion IPO valuation to inspiring fans to match their $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter.”

All eyes are on the 2021 Grammy Awards scheduled on Jan. 31 next year to see if BTS becomes the first-ever South Korean pop artist in history to win a Grammy as it was nominated for the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance on Nov. 24.

Bo-Mi Im bom@donga.com