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BTS Lover: Why Does The World Love BTS?

Currently, the world is in love with BTS. The now-familiar title of "BTS rewriting the history of K-POP" proves this just by looking at the media announcing BTS' achievements. Billboard, the Grammy Awards, the UN speech, Citi Field, Wembley Stadium, and other iconic spaces of people with enormous influence, and these great proper names that seemed too far away from our country, BTS also took over one by one. That's it. Through BTS' music and the content they create, Korea's Korean language, history, and culture are also known around the world. Therefore, when this sentence "The world is in love with BTS" came across as a proposition that was so prominently true, I felt a strange catharsis.

Why Are There BTS Lovers?

So why do many people become BTS lovers? To say this, we cannot leave out BTS' fandom 'ARMY'. 'ARMY' is famous for being huge and firepower enough to be an issue as an artist. Having good firepower means that you are engaged with the artist and have a high level of loyalty. For BTS, there are factors that make them immersed. And these immersion factors may explain BTS' global success.

Considering the reasons for BTS' success is very valuable for the future development of K-POP. This is because BTS is a Korean artist who exists in the contemporary era, but their actions have a non-era. Non-timelessness is a time that does not correspond to the present age, and it has a kind of revolutionary characteristic that creates the future that we want to see in the present time. Looking at BTS' record which is updated every moment, it can be said that they have also accelerated the future that K-pop hopes for and brought them to the present. The success factor of BTS can lead to the success factor of K-pop in the future.

Storytelling is Excellent for 'Immersion'

In the cultural industry, storytelling is important. This is because storytelling can give content value and life, which in turn can lead to high public engagement. In addition, well-built stories can be derived from various areas through OSMU strategies. The same is true when it comes to K-pop music. In order for idols to catch the public's eye and establish themselves in memory, it is more important to have their own distinct concept, and the concept can be solidified by the story. Accordingly, idols convey their message not only through song lyrics, but also through various work activities such as album concepts, choreography, and music videos. 

BTS' storytelling strategy has differentiated characteristics of 'authenticity' and 'transmedia storytelling, all of which allow BTS to be more engaged.

1. Authenticity of Music

First, BTS' music has authenticity. BTS releases albums by series, which are divided into the series "School", "Youth", and "Love". All of these series contain BTS' growth narrative as well as their intimate inner world. The lyrics of the songs on the album of the school series contained the conflicts and wanderings that teenagers often go through, such as "What is your dream", "Study machine", and "Forcing first place", which resonated with teenagers greatly. In the youth series, terms that refer to the social grievances of the young generation, such as "3-PO, 5-PO, and 6-PO generation", "passion fae", "(dirt) spoon", and "glass ceiling", are directly mentioned in the lyrics, and they honestly express the problems of anguish and emotion arising from criticizing society or immature self. At the same time, BTS runs a success prayer starting with the [Hwayang Yeonhwa] album, and in the process, they show their selves wavering in various temptations during the glamorous but unstable period of youth through the [Wings] album based on the literary work "Damian". Finally, the message "Love yourself" appears in the love series. 'Love yourself' This message can come from neutralizing all the social orders and ideas that oppress us, recognizing that identity can never be fixed, and accepting so many of ourselves as they are. To the extent that they can throw these messages around the world, BTS shows how they have grown.

In this way, BTS' music, which consistently tells the stories of themselves and other contemporary youth, resonates greatly with the public. Empathic storytelling reinforces common values and is a tool of rapport that closes the relationship between creators and the public. When the public truly feels that they are connecting with an artist and deriving comfort and strength from him, they become "fans" as they become immersed in the creator and his work. BTS music has this power.

2. Transmedia

If BTS' music created immersion with storytelling with empathy and authenticity, BTS' transmedia storytelling strategy evokes immersion by giving the content the character of the game. BTS has a huge BU (Bts Universe) universe that combines the characters' stories with the characteristics and narratives of each member with fantasy elements such as space-time movement and infinite loops. Through transmedia storytelling, Big Hit Entertainment distributes clues about BTS' worldview to various media platforms to encourage fans to actively participate by making them find and interpret hidden clues on their own.

The worldview code is "self-discovery," and Big Hit Entertainment releases these codes on various platforms online and offline, including books, webtoons, music videos, album jackets, concerts, and social media. As a result, fans try and share various interpretations by finding and reassembling small clues hidden by the agency as if they were participating in the game. Through this, the fan community is constantly active and fans are deeply immersed in the BTS universe. In particular, the fact that BTS' worldview is different from that of other idols and that each character represents a marginalized group that has been pushed out of society, rather than a psychic or a hero, reinforces the lyricism of the story and makes it more immersive. As a result, BTS' transmedia storytelling strategy not only makes fans spread BTS' content on their own but also becomes a success factor in preventing fan loss through a powerful immersion factor.

Immersion Created by Using Social Media 

BTS entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2018 as the most tweeted group in the world and won Billboard's "Top Social Artist" category for three consecutive years. As such, BTS has a huge influence on social media, and 'social media is also mentioned the most as a factor in BTS' success. This result can be attributed to BTS' use of social media which differentiates them from traditional K-pop stars.

BTS created a Twitter account even before their debut, and one account was jointly run by seven members, and they began to gain followers by posting their daily lives as if they were close friends. Through blogs, they posted specific cooking procedures to make fun of things, or they posted mixtapes they wrote and composed themselves to convey their message more clearly. In addition, these mixtapes were distributed free of charge for non-commercial purposes through 'SoundCloud', a platform for sharing music, revealing the musical personality and authenticity of each member. The activity of producing and releasing mixtapes continues to this day.

On YouTube, even before their debut, they posted a vlog video in which they recorded their daily lives in the form of a diary. At that time, Vlog content was not popular in the country, and it was content that no idol did. Since the establishment of Naver's 'V-app', an internet live broadcasting platform specializing in idols, they have communicated with fans in real-time through V-Live and told their more intimate stories that are difficult to express in writing. Recently, they have also been actively communicating through 'Reverse', which is a global fan community app launched by Big Hit Entertainment in 2019, and unlike existing fan clubs, everyone in the world can join for free. Therefore, artists can not only view the posts and photos of fans around the world as well as domestic fans but also comment directly on those posts for further communication.

As such, even before their debut, BTS actively communicated with their fans using social media and approached them with a modest and friendly image rather than the glamorous appearance that other idols have. Through this, fans were able to know BTS' news and daily life frequently over a short period of time, and as such, they were able to quickly form a bond with BTS. Furthermore, fans disassembled and reprocessed BTS' content in real-time to produce and disseminate various secondary contents of BTS on their own. This pattern accelerated with the development of social media. The records that BTS accumulated one after another spread rapidly on social media through fans, and a large amount of content helped people immerse themselves in BTS in a short time by increasing access to BTS worldwide. The immersion even led to the bond between the fans. As a result, the BTS fandom 'ARMY' has become the most influential giant fandom on social media. 

Immersion Created With Differentiated Self-Content 

BTS is famous for being an artist with a lot of so-called "rice cakes". Fans who first started BTS are often embarrassed by the huge amount of rice cakes compared to other idols, because in front of their eyes, not only BTS' music, BU, and communication with fans, but also a lot of their own content that BTS has accumulated since their debut.

BTS' own content is very diverse, including real variety, documentaries, and content that shows small moments such as backstage views and waiting room scenes. Real variety programs include Run Bulletproof, Bulletproof Music, and Bon Voyage. In the case of Run Bulletproof, there is a mission that the members must perform in each episode in the form of an entertainment show, and in the process of carrying out the mission, the individuality of each member is clearly revealed, and a unique character is firmly built. Bon Voyage is a travel real variety content that shows BTS, who are ordinary young people who are not celebrities while going through trial and error and overcoming conflicts together in a strange foreign country. Through this, fans can feel familiar with BTS and at the same time confirm their strong bond and strong relationship.

The documentary series vividly captures the process of BTS' world tour, showing the human anguish of BTS, who became international stars at a young age, but at the same time have to bear its huge and heavyweight. BANGTAN BOBM uploaded through YouTube is a short video content of fewer than 5 minutes that are uploaded from time to time, and you can see BTS frolicking and playing backstage through minor episodes that occur in the waiting room or practice room. BTS also holds a 'FESTA' every year to celebrate its debut day with its fans. When it becomes a Festa, various content completed by BTS themselves will be released, such as party videos commemorating BTS' birthdays, family photos, and profiles written by BTS themselves. 

This massive content of BTS is again dismantled by fans, edited to highlight BTS' charm and strengths, translated into languages around the world, and constantly spread to networks around the world. When BTS' music, brilliant performances, and high-quality music videos generate a little interest and enter the path of BTS' content, it is not easy to get back into the endless algorithm. This is why BTS is a very accessible artist to overseas fans, even though there are no members with overseas nationality. 

Such a result can be said to come from Big Hit Entertainment's differentiated strategy that saw the new media era ahead. At the beginning of their debut, when the old media decided on the recognition of the idols, BTS, the idols of small and medium-sized agencies, had a hard time seizing the opportunity to appear in the air. Therefore, the agency focused on its own content that could show more and more colorful appearances by appearing only in BTS, and when new media began to rise, the content accumulated by BTS shone in a state optimized for the influx of fans from all over the world.

The World is in Love With BTS

The world is in love with BTS. He said that when this sentence comes across as such a proposition that it is true, it feels a strange catharsis. If we look at the success factors of BTS, we can see that they started from a position that was pushed out of the mainstream of society and won the love of the world with their own authentic efforts. Therefore, BTS' success is both curious and bizarre, and at the same time, it comes with even greater joy and emotion. 

For BTS, sharing the feeling of love with people around the world means that every word and action of BTS can have a huge impact on the world. BTS is showing this as an influence for good, repaying the love of the whole world with love. BTS and Big Hit Entertainment not only brought comfort and strength to people around the world through their social change campaign 'Love Myself', but also continuously delivered donations to underprivileged groups around the world. Recently, he has donated to the black civil rights campaign "Black Reeves Matter" and staff around the world affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, actively participating in society and charity. What's surprising is that BTS' influence for good is followed by the fandom "Ami". Army also continues to donate in the name of BTS, and recently donated concert expenses canceled due to COVID-19 to the National Disaster Relief Association one after another, or followed BTS to black human rights.

In this way, BTS' move not only informs the factors to become a global star but also continues to show their desirable side as top star even after their success. BTS' success requires a balance between the authenticity of the artist and the agency's strategy to support it, so it will take a lot of effort to keep up. However, BTS' achievements indicate that such efforts are essential to the future development direction of K-POP.