Social media has become a place for a group of fans to showcase their love for their favorite stars. With the advent of MySpace and Twitter, the Beiber Fever raged on in the early 2010s for six years straight, winning over the Swifties, the Directioners and the Selenators. But since 2017, a new force has gripped the Twitterverse, namely - the rise of K-Pop.
The entrance of the seven-member boy band from South Korea changed the game. BTS and their fans, the ARMY, became the first K-Pop group to reach top 10 of the Billboard 200 Chart. BTS and the ARMY also ended the reign of the 'Beliebers', winning the Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards with more than 300 million votes worldwide. Currently, the biggest fandom in the world is none other than the BTS Army.
How powerful is BTS and ARMY?
Using data from Next Big Sound, a music data analytics company, let's take a closer look at the influence the ARMY has had on pop culture. Even at first view, the average amount of activity per fan sets K-Pop in a league of its own.
Next Big Sound defines BTS' fan base as "passionate", which is the highest possible category. The ARMY's efforts have also consistently placed BTS in the 100th percentile in social metrics, with 14,576,500 tweets in the last week alone.
The secret to the ARMY fandom's enormous success on social media is not only their love for BTS, but also a lot of strategic planning. The ARMY has a proactive, data-driven approach to increasing the popularity of BTS. The ARMY has three separate Twitter accounts. 'BTS on Billboard' is dedicated solely to help BTS, "spread their wings & fly on the Billboard Charts." Another account 'BTS Views' is just for tracking their YouTube views, while a third is for smooth hashtag-driven voting.
According to a Forbes report from 2018, one of the administrators in charge of the 'BTS on Billboard' account said that there are seven people who run the account, each in charge of a different time zone, so that all hours of the day can be covered.
The ARMY's tactics definitely seem to be working, with Butter officially having the largest number of viewers for its premiere in all of YouTube's history. A huge total of 3.89 million viewers tuned in, and Butter broke not one but three records on the day of its release. BTS' song also broke the record of being the fastest music video to hit 10 million views, which they reached in only 13 minutes.
Their latest song Permission to Dance reached 10 million views in less than an hour, just a little behind Butter.
In 2019, when in-person concerts were a thing, BTS had sold out the Wembley Stadium, the largest concert stadium in the UK, becoming the first Korean band to perform at the historic location. The tickets for the show had sold out in just 19 minutes, forcing them to hold two sold out shows, so as to not dissapoint the ARMY. With almost 1,20,000 fans in attendance, BTS were dubbed “21st-century Beatles.”
With the announcement of the Coldplay x BTS collaboration, the power of the ARMY is on full display. The CDs for collab were sold out all over the world in a record five minutes. Regardless of the music the band releases, the ARMY is sure to make it a success.