Celebrating 11 Years Of BTS: Here’s How The Group Became Bigger Than K-Pop


BTS or Bangtan Sonyeondan has proved that their music is here to stay no matter what the global music scene is. Who would have thought that a small group from an unknown label would shape the way people perceive South Korean culture today? It was very rare for a K-pop group to start its journey with rap and hip-hop as its foundation. It was even more uncommon for a group to discuss and openly sing about young people’s hardships.

BTS has reached the pinnacle of the pop music phenomenon since their debut in 2013. They have smashed more than 25 Guinness World Records, charted four #1 albums faster than any other group since the Beatles, and received five Grammy nominations (being the only K-pop group to do so). The South Korean group paved the way for other Asian music artists by doing all of this while primarily singing in their mother tongue.

There are so many factors that have solidified their hold in the industry. To sum it up in a statement, solo artist Lee Hyun once said, “If I were in BTS, I’d ask my agency to get me a throne.”. 

This might be far stretched to a person who still hasn’t discovered them, which are few in number because BTS are everywhere at the moment, from Google and Twitter Trends to your finance podcaster who is breaking down the money value of the band. Even after the whole K-pop wave, other groups are still hustling to achieve what BTS has.

Going Solo

Since 2021, the members started enlisting their mandatory service in the South Korean military for a certain period. And today we witnessed the oldest one, Jin, being discharged after completing his service, which was nothing short of a festival for the fans. In K-pop terms, military enlistments are like a setback in an artist’s career but for BTS, the members’ absence from the public didn’t move them from the charts. As BTS members embarked on solo careers, they were continuously spotted on the Hot 100.

The younger members Jimin and Jung Kook achieved solo No. 1s with Like Crazy and Seven (ft. Latto), respectively. The sunshine of the group J-Hope’s Hope on the Street, Vol. 1, bowed at No. 2 on the top album sales chart; other hits were from SUGA (under his Agust D moniker) with Daechwita in 2020, followed by V’s Christmas Tree, Jung Kook’s Stay Alive, JIN’s The Astronaut, RM’s Wild Flower with Youjeen, and Jimin’s Vibe with Taeyang. Recently RM’s Right Place, Wrong Person debuted at No. 1 on the top rap albums chart. The list goes on (pun intended).

Musical Mayhem

BTS’ music is full of various concepts, such as classical allusions, mystical significance and imagery from the Renaissance. It might be necessary to examine the written lyrics closely to fully comprehend their potency. Even though their catchy melodies and energetic beats are easily enjoyed, there’s more to their music than meets the eye.

For example, their 2016 studio album Wings drew inspiration from Hermann Hesse’s Demian, with allusions to the theme visible in the music video for Blood, Sweat, and Tears. The music video for Spring Day referenced Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas with a sign that said Omelas. Butterfly reflects through RM’s direct lines on the plot of Takashi Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. Many more hidden gems in their body of work are worth delving into.

Imagem de gif, park jimin, and hoseok | Bts spring day, Bts mv, Bts you never walk alone

Their albums often represent a mesmerising journey through the depths of their introspection and artistic eye. One of their most popular ballads is Spring Day, which holds a very emotional message for everyone. ‘My heart is running on time, alone on the Snowpiercer. I want to go to the other side of the earth, holding your hand, and put an end to winter.’ These lyrics commemorate the Sewol Ferry disaster, which took the lives of 304 high school kids. BTS sang a ballad of layered lyricism that uses spring as a symbol of hope, life and better days.


Their fandom is popularly called ARMY which stands for Adorable Representative MC For Youth, and when we asked fans to share their thoughts on the group’s anniversary, Proma from Kolkata shared, “I came across BTS during their ‘love yourself’ speech in the UN back in 2018 while I was hanging by a thread regarding my mental health and doom scrolling on Facebook. Although rationally I was aware they weren’t really speaking to me but it felt like they were. This might sound cringe but somewhere coming across that video stopped me from giving up on my life for a while. I’ve loved them ever since, and I always will.” 

Shatakshi from Patna said “I started listening to BTS a few years ago. In 2018-19, I was attracted to BTS because of the community and fanbase which is culturally diverse and so unique.”

Army Ocean Bts GIF - Army Ocean Bts

“That’s what attracted me in the beginning and then I started listening to their music and it has really changed my life in the sense that every path of my life is now entangled with my love of BTS. Like my friends, for example. Most of my friends now are because of BTS. I have seen Yoongi in a concert with people I just know on Twitter and now they are one of my closest friends. I went to college with my best friend from our masters and we both met on Twitter because of BTS. So it’s one of those things where I’m forever going to be grateful to them.”

Money, Money

Beyond Asia, BTS has been instrumental in bringing K-pop and Korean culture to a wider audience. They have successfully done globe tours at venues like SoFi and Wembley, earning some of the biggest musical awards. If you look at the numbers, BTS has not only contributed musically and culturally to the worldwide Hallyu movement, but they have also generated approximately $32.6 billion in revenue for South Korea in the last ten years! (via Hyundai Research). Additionally, BTS brings on an average of 800,000 foreign visitors annually and has contributed 5 trillion won to the marketing of Korean export goods! (Source)

The Brand value

BTS also has great social media influence. With millions of followers across social media sites like YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, they are every luxury brand’s favourite artist. According to the data, over the last 10 years, the band has had more than 2 billion mentions online. That’s an average of 547,945 mentions daily, aka a lot of social conversation. And 36.96 million unique authors initiated conversations about BTS on Twitter. (Source)

The success story for BTS did not come easily. They have put in years of hard work, always aiming for excellence and progress, which is genuinely appreciated by the fans worldwide, making them who they are today.

- Digital Writer


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