BTS's 'Dynamite' tops Billboard Hot 100 singles chart
BTS went where no other K-pop act has gone before when its single "Dynamite" topped Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.
It surpassed singer Psy's climb of the chart in 2012 with “Gangnam Style.” That song only made it to No. 2.
Billboard shared the news of the feat of “Dynamite” on its website Monday, U.S. time, in an article entitled “BTS is the first all-South Korean act to top the Hot 100.” The news came a week and a half after the band’s first all-English single was released on Aug. 21.
“The seven-member South Korean act rules the Hot 100 with its first all-English-language single, after previously reaching a No. 4 high with ‘On’ in March,” reported Billboard. BTS's last hit “On” was released in February as the lead track of the band’s fourth full-length album “Map of the Soul: 7.”
Billboard elaborated on “the song's explosive start” in the market, which saw 33.9 million U.S. streams and 300,000 copies of the single sold within just a week of release, according to Nielsen Music. Of the 300,000 copies sold, 265,000 were downloads, making “Dynamite” the best digital seller since Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” in 2017.
“Dynamite” surpassed the group's own previous bests, which included "On" reaching No. 4 on the chart, “Boy With Luv” reaching No. 8 in 2019 and “Fake Love” reaching No. 10 in 2018.
BTS became the first Asian act to top the chart since 1963, when Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto did so with “Sukiyaki.”
It has been a long road for K-pop to achieve such success in overseas music markets.
In 2000, female soloist BoA was the first Korean act to succeed abroad. Managed by SM Entertainment, BoA released music in Japan and performed multiple times in the country. She was followed by TVXQ, Super Junior, SHINee, Big Bang and 2PM — commonly referred to as the second generation of K-pop groups — who began to expand into other Asian countries, especially China and Southeast Asian countries.
Western markets were tougher to conquer. In the late 2000s, acts represented by JYP Entertainment such as Wonder Girls tried. But it wasn’t until 2012 that K-pop broke the bamboo curtain. Psy’s “Gangnam Style” conquered worldwide music charts with its catchy melody, comical video and oddly endearing horse-riding dance that had people all over the world singing a Korean lyric they didn’t understand. “Gangnam Style” peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart for seven weeks in the autumn of 2012 — the first time that K-pop was recognized by western listeners.
Then came BTS.
Its first album to reach a Billboard chart was “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2” in 2015. It reached No. 171 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. It was a humble beginning, but success started to build. BTS went on to get four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 albums chart: “Love Yourself: Answer” and “Love Yourself: Tear” (both in 2018),“Map of the Soul: Persona” (2019) and February's “Map of the Soul: 7."
“It’s like we’re out of our minds,” said BTS through its official Twitter account on Tuesday morning, thanking its official fan club, ARMY, with the hashtag, “Our ARMY got awarded.”
“But this is a feat achieved by you, and you are the ones that will be congratulated," the group wrote. "Thank you and thank you.”
While BTS was able to conquer the Billboard 200 albums chart in the past, the Hot 100 proved harder because it requires more than just fans buying albums — it requires a greater embrace of a song by the general public. While the Billboard 200 chart takes into account only album sales and the number of times a song has been streamed or downloaded, the Hot 100 chart takes into account the number of times it has been played on the radio and on YouTube.
“Since the late 2000s, music has been played through digital tracks and streaming services, which is different from the physical medium of the past,” said Lee Gyu-tag, a professor of pop music and media studies at George Mason Korea. “Consumers now listen to music not in whole album packages but in singles. So whereas the number of album copies sold show how many loyal fans a singer has, a singles chart is an indicator of how much the song is being loved by the general public.”
President Moon Jae-in congratulated the band on its historical achievement on Tuesday.
“BTS has achieved its first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, writing a new chapter in K-pop history as the first Korean band to do so,” Moon said, through the Blue House’s official Twitter account. “It is truly amazing. It is a splendid feat that further raises pride in K-pop. The song ‘Dynamite,’ which topped the list, is all the more meaningful as it has been composed to give a message of comfort and hope to people around the world who are struggling with Covid-19. It will bring huge consolation to Koreans suffering from the national crisis caused by Covid-19. I offer my heartfelt congratulations.”
BTS will share its thoughts on its achievement with the press in an online press conference on Wednesday morning.
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]