Popularly known as BTS, Bangtan Sonyeondan, is a South Korean boy band that debuted in 2013 under the entertainment company Big Hit Entertainment. The seven-member group comprises of four vocalist and three rappers, each with their unique vocal colours and rapping styles. Debuting as a hip-hop group with humble beginnings, the group has in the last six years garnered itself the title of the biggest boy band in the world and has a discography ranging over various musical styles and genres. The band has and continues to set and break many milestones and records in the music industry and spread their social messages through their music.
RM OR Kim Namjoon
The leader and main rapper, RM is often the spokesperson of the group as the only member fluent in English. RM began his music endeavors in middle school as an underground rapper named ‘Runch Randa’ and later joined a group of rappers ‘Daenamhyup’, till he was scouted and became the first member of BTS back in 2010.
Jin OR Kim Seokjin
A lead vocalist and one of the visuals of the group, Jin became a trainee under the agency with no previous experience in music or dancing but as an acting major in a prestigious university in Seoul. Having been scouted previously by another entertainment company for his good looks, Jin ultimately was street cast by and joined Big Hit Entertainment.
Suga OR Min Yoongi
One of the lead rappers of the group, Suga began his musical career as an underground rapper and producer named ‘Gloss’ in high school. He quickly garnered a name for himself in the underground scene and eventually auditioned for Big Hit wishing to join as a producer, however seeing his talent in rapping, he was convinced to become a trainee.
J-Hope OR Jung Hoseok
One of the main dancers, lead rappers and a sub-vocalist of the group, before joining the agency, J-Hope was a member of a dance crew named ‘Neuron’. Having auditioned for another entertainment company first, he eventually ended up joining Big Hit as a dancer and developed his skills as a rapper.
Jimin OR Park Jimin
The main dancer and lead vocal of the group, before joining Big Hit, Jimin was the top dance student in the Busan School of Arts. Encouraged by his teacher to audition, Jimin was selected as a trainee and moved to Seoul. Jimin was the last member to join the group as well as the trainee with the shortest amount of training!
V OR Kim Taehyung
One of the visuals, lead vocalist and lead dancer of the group, V was the most unexpected addition to the group since he never actually auditioned but merely accompanied his friend! However, seeing him there, he was encouraged by a staff member to audition and was selected for his various charms. He remained a hidden member of the group till their debut.
Jungkook or Jeon Jungkook
The youngest of the group, Jungkook is the Main vocalist, lead dancer, sub-rapper and center of the group. He was scouted by seven different entertainment companies but ended up joining Big Hit as he was very impressed and inspired by RM. He is often known as the Golden Youngest of the group because of his various talents.
History and Struggles
When BTS was formed, Big Hit Entertainment was at the edge of bankruptcy. Naturally, the group had to suffer the many hardships and consequences of coming from a small company in an industry that was monopolized by big names and big money.
Where the K-Pop scene was filled with groups with huge budgets and brand names, BTS suffered the harsh realities of coming from a nearly broke company where they all had to live in a small dorm and struggle to make ends meet.
However, the financial troubles weren’t the only adversities that the group had to go through. BTS broke the mold of the traditional K-POP idols, by being a hip-hop group with an idol set-up and music that was different from the conventional, and a result of this they suffered much lash back from the industry as well the general public who believed that they couldn’t make it. Consequently, their debut album ‘2 Kool for Skool’ sold only 24,000 copies and didn’t do well on the charts. Unfavorable performance on the charts, however, was only a little part of their struggles. The group’s performances were often cut from the many music shows and they were constantly scrutinized for the smallest things. These obviously brought with them the fear of disbandment, but they kept trudging on.
Things began to look better for the group in terms of commercial success with their album ‘The Most Beautiful Moments of Life Pt1.’ While their single ‘I Need U’ earned them their first music show win in Korea, their single ‘Dope’ appeared at no.3 on Billboard’s World Digital Songs Chart and became their first music video to gain more than 100 million views. Their successive EP ‘The Most Beautiful Moments in Life Pt.2’ topped the Billboard World Albums chart and maintained that position for weeks, making BTS the first K-pop act to have achieved so. However, despite these successes, the group still suffered many prejudices from the music industry and the public in Korea. One of the biggest controversies the band had to face was the accusations that their album sales were a result of Big Hit buying their albums themselves. During this time, they also were accused of plagiarism of concepts and even hair colours. Although all accusations were ultimately debunked as ridiculous, it was a dark and tough time in the history of the group.
Mainstream Success and Western Recognition
The release of their repackaged album ‘You Never Walk Alone’ and it’s lead single ‘Spring Day’ garnered BTS much commercial success and critical praise. The song topped eight major South Korean online music charts and entered US Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 singles chart. During this same period, BTS began their second world tour following which they attended the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and became the first Korean group to be awarded a Billboard Music Award by winning the Top Social Artist.
Succeeding ‘You never walk alone’, BTS’ ‘Love Yourself’ series saw its beginning with their EP ‘Love Yourself: Her’ which saw collaborations with big names such as Steve Aoki, The Chainsmokers, and Desiigner. The EP became a commercial success, debuting at NO.7 on the Billboard 200 while the lead single ‘DNA’ entered the Billboard HOT 100 chart at 85, a feat no K-POP band had achieved before. Their performance on the American Music Awards in November 2017 portrayed a fine image of their growing international success and fame.
The debut of their third Korean studio-album ‘Love Yourself: Tear’ earned them No.1 on the Billboard 200, becoming the highest-charting album by an Asian act. Their following repackage and the conclusion of the Love Yourself series, ‘Love Yourself: Answer’ was certified gold by the RIAA in November of 2018. Their 2019 release ‘Map of The Soul: Persona’ brought them their third consecutive No.1 at the Billboard 200 and all within a year, a feat that had not been achieved since The Beatles in 1995-96. The band’s lead single ‘Boy with Luv’ ft. Halsey became the most viewed video within 24 hours on YouTube and the song debuted at No.8 on Billboard Hot 100, making them the first Korean group to have achieved so. Following its release, the band promoted the EP and performed on many mainstream shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Good Morning America, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice.