2017 was an exceptional year for music. We saw great albums, artists and tracks released and new records being broken by various individuals and groups. One of the groups I'm really excited and happy about is South Korea's BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단). So far, 2018 looks like it's going to be another successful year for BTS!
BTS and their ARMY ("Adorable Representative MC for Youth) fan base/family have grown phenomenally. In fact, BTS ended 2017 with a variety of achievements including broken records and history made. They are ultimately taking the music industry to new heights and eliminating many barriers of language and division through the power of their music and personalities. Their success last year is a clear indication of the great things we can expect in the future.
The Wings Tour
After 2016's "Wings" album was a success on the charts, BTS launched their Wings Tour, which ended in December 2017. It was the third and final chapter of their live performance tour trilogy.
In addition to this, top music companies, news corporations and organisations such as the Grammys reported on BTS' brilliant performances. BTS and BigHit have both announced that the Love Yourself World Tour will begin later in 2018, with ticket sales already being made available at certain stadiums.
Winning the Social Artist Award at the Billboard Music Awards in 2017
After such success, it came as no surprise that they were nominated for the Social Artist Award by Billboard in 2017. Their appearance at the Billboard Music Awards made many Western media groups sit up and take notice.
What I and fellow ARMYs love about BTS is that they complement Big Hit's slogan of being 'artists and music for healing'.
"Love Yourself 承 'Her'" Mini Album
Another moment of success for BTS this past year was the release of their mini-album, "Love Yourself 承 'Her'". The album is predominantly gender neutral, promoting an inclusive message of loving others, loving ourselves and spreading a message of unity, love, and hope around the world. They have included societal and personal issues in their music to produce a catch and extremely successful album, especially in Asian music markets.
The album debuted on the Billboard Hot 200. The track "Best of Me" was a collaboration with the Chainsmokers. Their single "DNA" has been dominating multiple charts and the music video became the fastest K-Pop group music video to reach 100-million views.
BTS and Unicef launch the #EndViolence #LoveMyself Campaign
A pertinent part of BTS' success this year is their collaboration with Unicef. Their campaign #EndViolence #LoveMyself is an addition to Unicef's global #EndViolence campaign, which aims to create and spread awareness about injustices against children taking place around the world. Unicef already works as hard as it can with limited resources to stop ongoing violence against children.
BTS's assistance with #LoveMyself will help raise funds to make a difference. Bang Shi Hyuk, the chief executive of Big Hit Entertainment, announced that he will be donating the presidential commendation award prize money that he received to the #EndViolence #LoveMyself campaign.
BTS' takeover of the U.S.
BTS made appearances on some of the most popular talk shows in the U.S. at the end of 2017: "The Late Late Show" with James Corden, the "Jimmy Kimmel Show" and the "Ellen Show". In addition, they made an appearance at the American Music Awards (AMAs).
Following the AMAs, Guinness World Records announced on social media that BTS had broken the record for receiving the most Twitter engagements.
The "MIC Drop" Remix and its success on the charts
BTS once again dominated the news and the charts when their long-awaited collaboration with Steve Aoki and Desiigner finally dropped. The "MIC Drop" Remix's music video was released at the same time as the track, and it broke the YouTube record for being the most liked music video in 24 hours. The "MIC Drop" Remix reached number one on iTunes charts in 60 countries.
In fact, the "MIC Drop" Remix has done better on many charts than BTS has done before, such as the U.K. It was their first single to reach number one on iTunes in the U.S., and it was a first for Aoki too. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 28. In South Africa, the track reached number 30 on the iTunes singles chart and has been played by radio stations such as 5FM and KFM.
There is no doubt that 2017 has been the year of BTS. Their followers have doubled on all of their social media platforms within a year.
BTS wins big at MAMAs and MMAs
After dominating in the U.S., BTS returned home to rest before taking the stages of the Mnet Asian Music Awards and Melon Music Awards, which honour Asian artists. BTS left both awards shows with multiple awards, including Daesang Awards.
Despite the controversy around Mnet deleting ARMYs' votes for BTS and other shady activities, BTS walked away with Artist of the Year, Best Music Video and Best Asian Style at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, and P-Dogg, BTS' producer, received the Best Producer award.
At the Melon Music Awards, BTS won Best Song of the Year, Best Music Video Award, and the Global Artist Award. The Global Artist Award was brought back especially for BTS as they have become global sensations, dominating worldwide.
Collaborating with Seoul City and their Japanese debut 'Face Yourself'
The most recent news is that the city of Seoul has chosen to collaborate with them to promote the South Korean capital. BTS created a song to assist with the promotion, called "With Seoul". However, when the city of Seoul released the track for free on their website it received too many visitors and crashed. The song's music video has now been posted on YouTube.
"Face Yourself", BTS's latest Japanese album, included Japanese versions of some of BTS' successful Korean tracks, and also new tracks such as "Crystal Snow", "Let Go" and "Don't Leave Me", with crisp vocals and beautifully delivered rap verses. The album went platinum in Japan and also debuted on charts around the world.
2018: Off to a successful start.
2018 has been no different. The year began with BTS winning awards at the Seoul Music Awards, where they won both the Bonsang and Daesang Awards. At the Golden Disc Awards, BTS won the Digital Bonsang for "Spring Day", and also won the Disk Bonsang and Daesang for their successful mini-album, "Love Yourself: 'Her'".
At the Gaon Music Awards, BTS left with two awards: best album in the first quarter for "You Never Walk Alone" and best album in the third quarter for "Love Yourself: 'Her'". One of the most exciting results was BTS being nominated for the Korean Music Awards and winning Musician of the Year. Finally, BTS won big at the iHeart Radio Awards; BTS won Best Boy Band and Best Fan Army.
J-Hope Drops A Fire Mixtape
Fans were gifted with an incredible mixtape by Jung Hoseok this March. J-Hope's mixtape, "Hope World", contains some lit, vibey tracks to get down and jam to. "Hope World" broke records for the best solo K-Pop, reaching number one on iTunes charts in 60 countries.
BTS YouTube series 'Burn The Stage'
The BTS and YouTube Red collaboration for the series "Burn The Stage" was extremely successful. The series documented BTS' experiences through their Wings Tour.
BTS's comeback: 'Love Yourself Tear'
BTS' latest album, "Love Yourself Tear", takes a more introspective approach to love and how relationships can affect us negatively if we aren't true to who we are.
The intro song, "Singularity", performed by Kim Taehyung, was used as the comeback trailer and left fans in awe. The lead single, "Fake Love", has debuted at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the highest position that a KPop group has ever debuted on the Billboard chart. In addition to this, "Fake Love" has already been played on radio stations like Kfm, 5FM and 947.
"Love Yourself Tear" also debuted at number one on iTunes charts around the world, including South Africa.The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 200, and following this, BTS receive congratulatory messages from South Korea's minister of culture and president Moon. It is the first time since 2006 that a foreign album, in a foreign language, has debuted at number one on Billboard.
BTS wins and performs at the Billboard Music Awards 2018
Last weekend, following the release of "Love Yourself Tear", BTS was in the U.S. again to plug the album with multiple media, including once again Zach Sang, The Mess, and Liam McEwan. BTS is also going to be on the Ellen DeGeneres show and the Late Late Show with James Corden.
At the awards evening, BTS won the Top Social Artist award for the second year in a row, and performed their new single "Fake Love" to enthusiastic response, causing a Twitter storm. It looks like collaboration discussions are underway again — with DJ Zedd and BTS planning to team up soon.
There is no doubt that 2017 was the year of BTS, and 2018 will be no different. Their followers have doubled on all of their social media platforms within a year. They are global sensations who have created their own lane to establish a movement of love, hope, and change.
BTS have made their dreams come true, and they are celebrating these moments with their fans. 2018 is going to continue BTS' global domination — and we will be here celebrating, sharing and loving every moment of it.
South African fans are currently working on a campaign called #SouthAfricaPlayBTS to get more radio stations and TV music channels to play BTS, and are hoping to arrange suppliers with Musica and CNA so that BTS' physical albums can be sold here.