You have likely heard of BTS, even if you’re not a fan of K-pop. Simply put, they are the biggest boyband in the world and are well known for their cheerful tunes, extensive tours, and captivating dance skills.
Fans have come out in force this week commemorating the 10th anniversary of the group’s first song, even though the group is presently on hiatus so that certain members can serve in the South Korean military.
Superfan Beth Law tells BBC Newsbeat, “I’ve made friends from all over the world through BTS and I’m so grateful,” The 26-year-old Weston-super-Mare resident is a member of the BTS ARMY, an organization made up of passionately loyal fans who are encouraged to support one another as well as the music group.
“I even met my boyfriend through BTS, so it’s been an amazing journey,” she continues. Only two of the millions of people who follow the band’s every move worldwide are Beth and her lover. But why are they so important to their followers?
400,000 Strong: Seoul Unites to Celebrate BTS’s 10th Anniversary:-
An estimated 400,000 people gathered in Seoul to celebrate the 10th anniversary of K-pop boy band #BTS
— The National (@TheNationalNews) June 18, 2023
Beth says BTS has assisted her with her love life and mental health. The band has received praise for including topics relating to mental health in their songs over the previous ten years, and Beth claims one piece in particular, Reflection, struck a chord with her.
“I remember just sitting in my room looking at the lyrics, just crying while I was listening to it because it made me feel seen and so heard.” Beth considers the group’s teachings of “self-love” and “taking care of yourself” tremendously effective even though they are being sung in a foreign language.
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One of the reasons that Korean culture gained popularity outside is frequently attributed to BTS. They have previously been recognized as the best-selling artists in the world, surpassing acts like Taylor Swift and Adele, and they were the first Korean group to have an album go to number one in the UK charts.
Jenny Sheehan thanks the band “for opening up my world to music that’s not in English” on her YouTube channel, which she now devotes exclusively to K-pop.
The music videos have subtitles so you can see what they’re saying, and it’s usually so deep and there are so many cultural references in there. Jenny believes that how they interact with fans is more distinctive than just the music they play.
Celebrate 10 Years of BTS with Epic Playlists and Their Entire Discography:-
Special thanks to @MAXMusic for curating a very special playlist for BTS and ARMY!💜
— BTS_official (@bts_bighit) June 15, 2023
“They do so much for their fans, [things] that maybe I haven’t seen from Western artists. They go live regularly just to talk to us and read messages.”
According to music journalist and K-pop expert Taylor Busby, this close relationship with their fans has made BTS an “unstoppable force” and set them apart from other bands.
“A lot of artists weren’t using social media in a day-to-day way. They were using it [only] for album updates and video links.” To connect with fans, band members frequently used these discussions and live streaming to be vulnerable and transparent about their own troubles.
“BTS were right in there, just chatting. You could get replies so it really felt like there wasn’t that wall that K-pop used to have.” According to Taylor, BTS’s breakthrough “opened the door” for other Korean musicians and helped K-pop become a worldwide phenomenon.
Blackpink, who performed at Coachella and is scheduled to perform in London this summer, and Red Velvet have been planned for European tours.
“This is something very few K-pop idols could do prior to BTS.” Even though the group isn’t actively producing music, fans like Mel James, currently residing in Seoul, have gone all out in the past week to commemorate the birthday.
The 26-year-old English teacher finds it “amazing to see” the purple-colored cityscapes that symbolize the band. There are performances everywhere, and the purple fountain shows on the Banpo Bridge that spans the Han River are striking.
Supermarkets are offering specials. Just so much is being celebrated. She continues, “This doesn’t happen for everybody and it goes to show that authenticity is perfect,”