The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

BTS’s domination of the Western world

By Alexandra Fadel
Staff Writer

Who are the seven men taking over the worldwide music industry? BTS – which stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단) in Korean and Beyond The Scene in English, composed of rappers RM, who at 26 is the leader of the group, J-Hope (26 years-old), Suga (27), and vocalists Jin (28), Jimin (25), V (24), and Jungkook, the maknae (youngest) of the group.

BTS (Left to right: J-HOPE, Jin, Jungkook, V, Jimin, SUGA, and RM) offer colorful, fresh styles for their 2019 MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA concept shoot. (Photo courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment)

Having grown together from debuting in 2013, they continue to offer fans new perspectives on issues of self-appreciation, individual expression, and mental health. Many artists have tackled the feat of addressing these topics through music, so what makes them stand out? 

“They’re hardworking, and extremely passionate and honest with us,” said sophomore Adriana Ortega. Ortega has been a fan of BTS for seven years now, following their journey from debut to stardom. She considers herself one of their die-hard fans, dubbed ARMY – Adorable Representative MCs for Youth – who have been able to support the members and build on their efforts. After seven years, the members continue to constantly express their appreciation for ARMY, treating them almost like family. 

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BTS has been able to build a dedicated fanbase that feels personally connected to them, their achievements, and their messages. Communicating the importance of self-love, now often associated with them from their Love Yourself album trilogy, is something they also have clearly succeeded at.

Another subject the members are no strangers to talking about is mental health, one which is usually considered taboo in many cultures. In numerous songs, they have mentioned the problems young adults currently face, such as depression, anxiety, and the pressure to meet certain expectations. They have often said they look to provide support for ARMY with their music. 

They tell their fans this directly in “Magic Shop” from LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’ :

It’s okay to believe, the Magic Shop will comfort you

I wanted to become your comfort and move your heart

I want to take away your sadness, and pain” (Translation source: Genius)

“Their lyrics are relatable, and help their fans feel like they’re not alone. The emotional help they have given me is something I will always be grateful for,” said sophomore Oliver Carbunar. 

 It’s also apparent through their actions outside of the music world that helping people is not a goal they take lightly. “They’re a part of UNICEF and have done countless good things for people,” Ortega said.

 Whether it be financing education, donating to help children in need, natural disaster relief, or important social movements, BTS is always looking for a new way to provide their help around the world. Being exemplary people is something many fans acknowledge and admire about them as artists. They often show their support for marginalized communities, such as racial and ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community as well, making sure to preach equality and acceptance even during their United Nations speech.

BTS members (from left to right: SUGA, Jimin, Jungkook, J-HOPE, Jin and V) stand beside their leader, RM, for their 2018 United Nations address. (Photo by Kim Jung-hyo)

Besides their missions with fans and around the world, BTS’ important role in connecting different cultures is now characteristic of their global standing, but getting to that point was not easy.

In Korea, BTS’ claim to fame is their work towards opening Korean pop music’s reach to the United States. Although many groups came before them, they were the only ones who broke records and truly established “K-pop’s” place in the west. 

In the same way The Beatles put England on a map that had already set aside a place for it, BTS have been able to introduce Korea to people all over the world for the first time. Fans travel from all across the world to attend their concerts, planning years in advance to get tickets. The group brings in $4.7 billion to the South Korean economy yearly, pulling short of one million tourists so far to visit their country. 

BTS launched a collaboration with Visit Seoul, an agency dedicated to the city’s tourism, to invite fans to experience the city and the groups’ favorite spots. (Photo Courtesy of I Seoul You/Visit Seoul)

People learn Korean as well, to understand and appreciate their lyrics and speeches.

BTS and all other Korean groups are still placed under the “K-pop” label, many times to belittle rather than elevate their music and achievements. The term was popularized in the early 90s, but has grown to have a strong negative connotation, being that all idols and Korean pop groups are “fabricated,” making perfect music and choreography for profit – a factory-like concept. This takes away from their artistry, and personal input they offer in their work. 

The teams of people behind these “K-pop” groups work to perfect every detail, making for standard-shattering performances. This is often considered too precise and impersonal. To their fans, BTS radiates authenticity and genuine emotion in their every song.

The teams of people behind these “K-pop” groups work to perfect every detail, making for standard-shattering performances. This is often considered too precise and impersonal. To their fans, BTS radiates authenticity and genuine emotion in their every song.

“The amount of themselves they put in their music, their personality, their style, it’s something you immediately notice,” said college senior Ziva Reby, who has been a fan since 2018. 

The group has been writing their own music ever since their debut, with the rappers being heavily involved in production as well. From music video direction to fan interaction events and concert concepts, the members play a substantial role in all of their next steps. Their discography is the best example of how personally they take the job. 

“They have seven years of a variety of genres, from hard hip hop to pop ballads, all sounds the members themselves decided they wanted to pursue. So they did,” Reby added.

BTS has music for any type of listener, all tackling important issues to prompt self-reflection and healing from their fans. Paired with their grandiose stages and unmatched work ethic, BTS and their ARMY have a worldwide presence like no other.

BTS sold out the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, California to kick off their 2019 “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself Tour” (Photo courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment.)

“After seven years of following them, they are still the same genuine guys with a love for their music and fans, who both work to reach their dreams,” Ortega said. And although they have already achieved a substantial cultural impact around the world, they keep growing in popularity day by day, breaking records and making history in the music industry and way beyond.

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BTS’s domination of the Western world