BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys or Beyond The Scene, is a seven-member South Korean boy band formed by Big Hit Entertainment. They debuted on June 12, 2013 with the song "No More Dream" from their first album 2 Cool 4 Skool, for which they won several New Artist of the Year awards, including at the 2013 Melon Music Awards and Golden Disc Awards and the 2014 Seoul Music Awards. The band continued to rise to widespread prominence with their subsequent albums Dark & Wild (2014), The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 (2015) and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever (2016), with the latter two entering the U.S. Billboard 200. The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever went on to win the Album of the Year award at the 2016 Melon Music Awards.
Their second full album, Wings (2016), peaked at number 26 on the Billboard 200, which marked the highest chart ranking for a K-pop album ever. In their native South Korea, Wings became the best selling album in the Gaon Album Chart history at the time. The album went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies, making it BTS's first "million seller", and the group was subsequently awarded Artist of the Year at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards. The group's next release, Love Yourself: Her (2017), debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200, marking the highest rank for an Asian artist in history. The group also managed to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with the album's title track, "DNA", which entered at #85 and peaked at #67. The album sold over 1.2 million copies on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart in its first month, reclaiming its title as the best selling album in the chart's history and becoming the biggest selling Korean album by month in 16 years, coming second to G.o.d's album in 2001.
Known for their large social media presence, BTS were listed by Forbes as the most retweeted artist on Twitter in March 2016. Following that, Twitter launched its first ever K-pop Twitter emoji featuring BTS. In 2017, BTS broke the Guinness World Record for most Twitter engagements for a music group. Also in 2017, BTS won a Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist. In June 2017, Time magazine named the band one of the 25 most influential people on the internet. BTS's achievements have also led the group to be ranked #5 on Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list for 2017, a list ranking South Korea's most powerful and influential celebrities.
The group's name BTS is an acronym for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan (Hangul: 방탄소년단; Hanja: 防彈少年團), literally meaning "Bulletproof Boy Scouts". In Japan, they are known as Bōdan Shōnendan (防弾少年団), which translates to the same. On July 2017, BTS announced that in addition to being known as Bangtan Sonyeondan or Bulletproof Boy Scouts, they would also be known as "Beyond The Scene" as part of their new brand identity.
The first members of BTS were recruited through Big Hit Entertainment's "Hit it" auditions in 2010 and 2011. The lineup went through several changes before being finalised in 2012. Six months prior to debut, the members began to gain publicity through Twitter, video blogs, fancafe posts, and song covers on YouTube and SoundCloud.
Before their debut, RM performed as an underground rapper and had released several tracks informally, including a collaboration with Zico. Jin was a film arts student at Konkuk University before being streetcast for auditions, while Suga was an underground rapper in Daegu. J-Hope, who was part of a street dance team named Neuron, was active in the underground dancing scene. Before joining Big Hit, Jimin enrolled in Busan High School of Arts as the top student in modern dance, but later transferred to Korea Arts High School with V, who auditioned in Daegu. Jungkook was cast by seven agencies after auditioning for Superstar K, but eventually chose Big Hit, reportedly after watching fellow member RM rap.
2013–2014: Debut with 2 Cool 4 Skool, O!RUL8, 2?, Skool Luv Affair and Dark and Wild
The first album of BTS's "school trilogy" series and their debut single album, 2 Cool 4 Skool, was released on June 12, 2013, with the lead single "No More Dream". The album won them several New Artist of the Year awards, including at the 2013 Melon Music Awards and Golden Disc Awards and the 2014 Seoul Music Awards.
On September 11, 2013, BTS released their first extended play, O!RUL8,2?, which consisted of 10 tracks. They also starred in their own variety show, SBS-MTV's Rookie King Channel Bangtan. The premise of the show was based on a fake broadcast station, "Channel Bangtan", through which the members parodied variety shows such as VJ Special Forces and MasterChef Korea. Rookie King Channel Bangtan premiered its eight-episode run on September 3, 2013.
The third part of the "school trilogy", their second EP Skool Luv Affair, was released on February 12, 2014. BTS promoted the album's title track "Boy in Luv (상남자)", releasing its music video on February 11. The album peaked at #3 on Billboard's World Albums Chart. BTS then came back with "Just One Day (하루만)", with its music video released on April 6.
On March 7, Big Hit Entertainment announced that BTS would release their Japanese debut single album, consisting of the Japanese language versions of their previous releases. The album, 2 Cool 4 Skool, was released on April 23; their first single was a Japanese version of "No More Dream". On June 14, BTS took part in the Bridge to Korea festival in Russia, an event that aimed to promote tourism between the two countries. There, they became judges of a K-pop cover dance competition and later performed on stage in front of 10,000 spectators. The group also attended KCON in Los Angeles alongside other artists on August 10, 2014.
On August 19, BTS released the music video for their comeback single "Danger" from their first full-length album, Dark & Wild, which sold over 109,098 copies. They made a comeback with "War of Hormone (호르몬 전쟁)", a track from Dark & Wild. Its music video was released on October 21, 2014.
BTS continued to promote in Japan, releasing their first Japanese studio album, Wake Up, on December 24. The album not only included Japanese versions of their songs, but also the original Japanese tracks "Wake Up" and "The Stars". They then held their first concert tour, 2014 BTS Live Trilogy – Episode II: The Red Bullet, throughout October, November and December. They toured South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. During the 2014 Mnet Asian Music Awards, BTS was nominated for the Best Dance Performance and UnionPay Song of the Year awards. In addition to performing "Boy in Luv", they also had a collaboration stage with Block B during the awards show.
2015: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, world tour, rising popularity and critical acclaim
From February 10–19, 2015, BTS toured Japan for the first time with the Wake Up: Open Your Eyes tour. They performed to 25,000 fans in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. On March 28, BTS held their second solo concert in Korea, titled BTS Live Trilogy – Episode 1: BTS Begins.
The group's third EP, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1, was released on April 29, 2015. It was listed in June by Fuse as one of the "27 Best Albums of 2015 So Far" and was the only Korean album listed that year. On May 5, 2015, their title track "I Need U" won first place on SBS MTV's The Show, which marked their first ever music show win since their debut.The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 had sold over 200,000 copies since its release.
On June 4, BTS released their fourth Japanese single, "For You", to celebrate the first anniversary of their Japanese debut, with its music video released on the same day. The single climbed to the top on Oricon's daily chart, selling 42,611 copies within its first day. On June 23, BTS released their music video for their follow up single, "Dope (쩔어)", from The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1, becoming BTS first music video to hit over 100 million views. "Dope" rose to its peak at number 3 on Billboard's World Digital Chart despite being released two months earlier.
The group's world tour, 2015 Live Trilogy Episode: The Red Bullet, continued with stops in Malaysia, Latin America, Australia and the United States, and ended in Hong Kong on August 29. BTS was a part of the 2015 Summer Sonic Festival tour in Japan, performing on August 15 at Tokyo's QVC Marine Field and on the 16th in Osaka. They returned with the album The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 on November 30. They also held a three-day concert tour, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: On Stage, from November 27–29, where they showcased their title track "Run". The album charted at number one on the Billboard World Albums and remained atop the chart for multiple weeks, making BTS the first K-pop act to achieve that feat. At the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards, they received the Best World Performer in recognition of their international fanbase. During the event, they performed "Run" and had a short collaboration stage with GOT7. The band released the Japanese version of "I Need U" as their fifth Japanese single on December 8.
2016: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever, Youth and Wings
BTS released their sixth Japanese single, "Run", on March 15, 2016. On May 2, they released a special compilation album, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever and held two days of concerts at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul from May 7–8 in support of the album. A total of 24,000 fans attended. After that, the group began their Asia tour, which sold out 144,000 concert tickets. The group also headlined KCON in both Los Angeles and New York in June and July 2016, both to sold out audiences.
On September 7, 2016, they released their second Japanese studio album Youth, selling over 44,000 copies on its first day of release, and shot up to first place on the daily albums chart in Japan. In October 2016, Billboard placed BTS as #1 on their Social 50 chart, making them the first Korean group to top the chart. To date, they have spent 48 weeks as #1 on the Social 50 chart.
On October 10, 2016, BTS released their second full-length studio album, Wings, with the title track "Blood Sweat & Tears" (Korean: 피 땀 눈물). Pre-orders for the album reached over 500,000 copies within the first week. The album managed to make it to the U.K. Official Albums Charts, entering at #62, making history as the first Korean act to do so. The album also debuted at #26 on the Billboard 200 chart with 16,000 units earned in the week ending October 13. This made the new U.S. record for "Highest Charting and Best Selling K-pop Album", with 2NE1's Crush previously holding the record at #61 in 2014. It also marked them as the first K-pop act to log three entries on the Billboard 200, and Wings was the first album to spend more than one week on the chart. A few days later, it was revealed that BTS had topped the World Albums Chart, World Digital Songs Chart and Social 50 Chart for the week of October 29. They also charted on YouTube's Music Global Top 100: 17th on the video chart, 6th on the artist chart and 14th on the tracks chart. The album's title track, "Blood Sweat & Tears", achieved an "all-kill" on the South Korean music charts, and went on to become the group's first domestic number one hit on the Gaon Digital Chart. Within 24 hours of the music video for "Blood Sweat & Tears" being released, it reached over 6 million views. This broke the previous record on YouTube for the highest number of views on a K-pop group music video within 24 hours.
From November 12–13, BTS held a fan meeting at Gocheok Sky Dome for which all 38,000 tickets sold out. On November 19, 2016, BTS announced the Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour, set to visit South Korea, Chile, Brazil, the United States, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Australia. On the same day, BTS won Album of the Year for The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever at the Melon Music Awards. This award marked BTS's first daesang, or grand prize, since debut. On December 2, 2016, BTS won their second daesang for Artist of the Year at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards. By doing this, BTS became the first artist not from a "Big 3" entertainment company (SM, YG and JYP) to win the award.
2017: You Never Walk Alone, Love Yourself 承 'Her', and Crystal Snow
In February 2017, BTS ranked fifth in Forbes magazine's Korea Power Celebrity list. On February 13, they released a repackage of their second full-length studio album, Wings, titling it You Never Walk Alone. Pre-orders for the album, which contained 4 new tracks, reached over 700,000 copies. Title track "Spring Day" (Korean: 봄날) achieved an all-kill on eight of the major South Korean online music charts, having crashed the Melon digital chart upon its initial release due to traffic overload. "Spring Day" entered the US Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at #15. A writer from the magazine highlighted the achievement as the single was "almost all in Korean" and had "zero promotions in America". The single also topped the Gaon Digital Chart. Within 24 hours of the music video for "Spring Day" being released, it reached over 9 million views. This broke the previous record on YouTube for the highest number of views on a K-pop group music video within 24 hours, previously held by the music video for their previous single "Blood, Sweat, and Tears". However, the new record was broken a week later after the group released the music video for "Not Today", which accumulated over 10 million views in said time span. Similarly, "Spring Day" became the fastest K-pop group music video to reach 20 million views, achieving the feat in less than four days; "Not Today" bested this by reaching said number of views in less than 3 days. The group performed the new tracks from You Never Walk Alone for the first time at the South Korean leg of the 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour, a week after its release.
The group released their fifth mini album, Love Yourself 承 'Her', on September 18, 2017. The mini-album includes the track "Best of Me", a collaboration with The Chainsmokers' Andrew Taggart. Within 24 hours of release, the "DNA" music video reached over 20 million views on YouTube, becoming one of the most viewed K-pop music videos within the first 24 hours. On September 25, 2017, BTS earned their first U.S. Billboard Hot 100 entry after debuting with the single "DNA" at number 85. They became the first K-pop boy group to enter the chart and the second Korean act to do so with a Korean-language song. On October 2, BTS scored the highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 for a K-pop group, beating the Wonder Girls' previous high record of number 76 by 9 spots, gaining a position of 67.
On October 14, an official post made on their Japanese website confirmed the group's release of an upcoming eighth Japanese single album (their first Triple-A side single), coming out on December 6. The album includes Japanese versions of two tracks from Love Yourself 承 'Her', "Mic Drop" and "DNA" and an original new Japanese song entitled "Crystal Snow".
On November 3, the group confirmed that they will be performing at the American Music Awards, making them the first K-pop group to perform at the show. On November 7, Big Hit Entertainment confirmed a collaboration with Steve Aoki and Desiigner for a remix of "Mic Drop" released on November 24.
On the November 22, the group was announced to be a part of the Guinness World Record Book for 2018 as a musical group who have the most Twitter engagement.
In BTS's early history, the group's musical style and image was mainly influenced by hip hop, in singles such as 'N.O.' and 'No More Dream'. They soon evolved to include a more R&B feel to their hip-hop as well as rock-inspired elements, in singles such as "Danger" and "Boy in Luv (상남자)". With The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 1, BTS was noted to have shifted musically. Although they still maintained a hip-hop image, they had also embraced their R&B side, with tracks such as 'Hold Me Tight'. Wings brought a change in tone as it featured seven solo songs, with genres ranging from V's 'neo-soul' ‘Stigma' to J-Hope's gospel-evoking 'Mama' and Suga's impassioned piano-rap in 'First Love'. In You Never Walk Alone, 'Spring Day' evokes an alt hip-hop feel, with British rock elements. BTS has also been noted for lyrics that "speak honestly about topics they deem important, even in a conservative society." Their releases have tackled subject matters such as school bullying and nonconformity to societal ideals, as well as mental health issues, suicide, nihilism, the K-pop idol system, and female empowerment. In their most recent mini-album, Love Yourself: Her, the tracks ‘Pied Piper’ and ‘Go Go’ comment on BTS’s own fanbase and an advocation for nihilistic spending in the name of happiness and youth respectively. In the release before, You Never Walk Alone, ‘Not Today’ is an anti-establishment anthem, with messages advocating for minority groups.
In 2016, however, the group faced criticisms of misogyny regarding the lyrics of "War of Hormone", "Converse High", and RM's solo song "Joke", as well as a Twitter comment made by Suga. The group's label later issued an apology. BTS co-writes and produces much of their output, which some media outlets have attributed for their success.
In January 2017, it was revealed that BTS and Big Hit Entertainment had donated KR₩100,000,000 (US$85,000) to the 4/16 Sewol Families for Truth and A Safer Society, an organization that is connected to the families of the 2014 Sewol Ferry Disaster. Each member had donated KR₩10,000,000 and Big Hit Entertainment donated an additional KR₩30,000,000. The donation was intended to have been made in secret.
On October 31, 2017, BTS officially launched their 'Love Myself' campaign, in partnership with the Korean Committee for UNICEF. They revealed a new website called Love Myself, in collaboration with UNICEF that would support profits from the #ENDviolence project. Big Hit revealed they plan to donate 500 million won ($448,000) from the members, 3% of all upcoming Love Yourself: Her album sales and 100% of all sales of official goods for the "LOVE MYSELF" campaign over the next two years, as well as include donation desks installed by UNICEF.
In 2015, BTS became brand ambassadors for Puma. In 2016, Nexon released character avatars based on the members for their RPG game Elsword. That year, they topped the 'Boy Group Brand Power Ranking' published by the Korean Corporate Reputation Research Institute for 9 out of 12 months, and were the boy group with the highest brand reputation.
In 2017, BTS were chosen as the honorary tourism ambassadors for Seoul as part of the 'I Seoul U' programme. The group filmed an advertisement produced by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which was subsequently aired in over 100 countries. They were also chosen as the new brand models for Lotte Duty Free Shop.
- Jin (진) – vocals
- Suga (슈가) – rapper
- J-Hope (제이홉) – rapper
- RM – leader, rapper
- Jimin (지민) – vocals
- V (뷔) – vocals
- Jungkook (정국) – vocals
Tours and concerts
- 2014 BTS Live Trilogy-Episode II: The Red Bullet (2014)
- BTS Live Trilogy Episode I: BTS Begins (2015)
- BTS's First Japan Tour-Wake Up: Open Your Eyes (2015)
- The Most Beautiful Moment in Life On Stage (2015)
- 2015 BTS Live Trilogy Episode II: The Red Bullet (2015)
- The Most Beautiful Moment in Life on Stage: Epilogue (2016)
- 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour (2017)
- Rookie King: Channel Bangtan (SBS MTV) – BTS-based reality show, Episode 1–8
- American Hustle Life (Mnet) – BTS-based reality show, Episode 1–8
- BTS GO! (Mnet America) – BTS-based reality show, Episode 7
Variety shows on V LIVE
- Run BTS! – Episode 1–28
- BTS GAYO – Episode 1–15
- BTS Bokbulbok – Episode 1–5
- BTS: Bon Voyage – a 10-day trip around North Europe celebrating their 3rd year, Episode 1–8
- BTS: Bon Voyage Season 2 – a 9-day travel in Hawaii, Episode 1–8