As the iconic group BTS celebrates its ten-year anniversary of debuting on June 13, it represents a crucial turning point in the development of Korean pop (K-pop). Even though it can feel like a long time ago, it is important to remember that BTS became well-known around the world only a few years later. Since then, the group has received numerous honors and has been dubbed the model for “next-generation leaders” (Time Magazine), a “K-pop behemoth” (The Washington Post), and a “cultural juggernaut” (The New York Times), among other lofty labels.
This point also marks the passing of about a year since BTS, a group of seven incredibly gifted people, declared on June 14, 2022, that they would be taking a break from group activities to complete their required military service in South Korea.
A Decade Together: A Rare Achievement
A decade is an extraordinary duration for a multi-member musical act to remain intact. Even legendary groups like The Beatles, who also began their journey as a collective of charismatic singers catering to a primarily young, female audience, were together for only about eight years. Similarly, NSYNC, another immensely popular group, disbanded after a mere seven years. However, the length of time a group stays together is not always indicative of their cultural impact.
BTS has thrived and influenced the world on a scale that goes beyond simple statistics. Millions of fans worldwide connect with their music on an emotional level that cuts over the boundaries of language and culture. According to Korean media reports, their newly created album “Take Two,” released to celebrate their anniversary, has topped Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart with a whopping 7.3 million streams in a single day. Their music was streamed close to 8 billion times on YouTube in 2022, exceeding The Weeknd and Taylor Swift.
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BTS Journey Filled with Challenges and Obstacles
Notwithstanding its enormous success, BTS has encountered several obstacles along the way. A group with only one native English speaker has found it difficult to overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers. Additionally, they have experienced racist insults, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak when hostility against East Asians was rampant globally.
Additionally, there still exists the belief that pop culture cannot represent national identity. Diminishing the significance of BTS’s achievements in the eyes of some. These obstacles serve as a reminder that their path to success has not been without difficulties and that not everyone recognizes the value of their remarkable story.
Also, Recently, J-Hope and Jin both made unexpected appearances on SUGA, much to the pleasure of the audience. The topic of the moving speech given by BTS at the MAMA 2018 awards came up in conversation. When SUGA questioned Jin about it, Jin opened up about the difficulties they encountered at the time. He explained how they only had a day and a half of vacation time each month because they were touring to promote their song “Fake Love.” They were mentally and physically exhausted from the demanding schedule, which made them think about breaking up. Jin also acknowledged that singing while dancing was extremely challenging and that he first detested performing in front of an audience.
However, as we look back on the past ten years of BTS, it is evident that their journey has been nothing other than extraordinary.