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Western award shows tend to be pretty focused on English speaking performers. What will it take for them to recognize BTS and K-pop more widely?

When will western award shows take BTS and K-pop seriously?

There’s absolutely no denying that the K-Pop band BTS has made a dent in the universe. While their rise to stardom & fame has been years in the making, they’ve truly reached a point where everyone knows them – because if you haven’t heard of BTS, chances are you’ve been living under a rock.

Lately, they’ve been making headlines for breaking all sorts of records. In 2019, the group’s fanbase strengthened the most, with the band raking in $130 million in sales from merchandising alone. This year, with the release of their first English single “Dynamite”, they surpassed the likes of Taylor Swift & their Korean counterpart Blackpink.

The song dethroned Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan” that recorded 7.742 million streams on Spotify on its debut day, by filing 7.77 million streams. The music video for the song did extremely well, too. It reached 100 million views within 24 hours of its release, making it the fastest video to achieve that milestone, defeating Blackpink’s previous record. That video has now been watched more than 450 million times.

They’ve gone & hit 1.1 billion views on YouTube for their music video “DNA”. Their previous album Map of the Soul: 7 also reigned on Billboard charts. With “Dynamite”, one thing’s clear: BTS is no longer catering to a niche audience, the boy band members have managed to sweep the world with their charms & talent. 

One would then expect that for one of the biggest sensations in music history, there’d be more mainstream awards, too. In that respect, things haven’t been as record-breaking.

Cut to Billboard Music Awards 2020

The Billboard Music Awards, hosted by Kelly Clarkson, saw the best of musical talent get awarded. The most nominations were held by the two queens, Taylor Swift & Billie Eilish, with Eilish bagging multiple awards, including Top Female Artist & Top Billboard 200 Album for When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Post Malone emerged as the clear star of the night, as he bagged the most coveted award of the night, Top Artist, along with Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Rap Artist, among others. BTS also took home their fourth consecutive win for the Best Social Artist. Other nominees included Billie Eilish, EXO, GOT7, and Ariana Grande.

The septet of the Korean outfit – consisting of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook – took the opportunity to thank their fans, the BTS ARMY for their support.

Gratitude for the ARMY

J-Hope began the acceptance speech with a massive thanks to their fans, “Thank you ARMY for giving us this award four years in a row.” They’ve always reciprocated their fans’ love for them, just like RM said, “We think this award is a living proof that no matter where we are, ARMY and BTS stay so close and connected as always.” Suga further made it clear that the relationships BTS & their ARMY share will never go unrequited, “It’s a collaboration of our special connection.”

BTS was nominated for two categories, Top Social Artist & Top Duo/Group just like last year. They won both categories last year, but this year the group title was bagged by the Jonas Brothers.

Perhaps the western award shows still need some time to warm up to K-pop bands & give them their worth where it’s due.

What else happened at the BBMAs 2020?

Garth Brooks received the Icon Award presented to him by his friend, Cher. He also performed some of his greatest hits, including “The Thunder Rolls”, “The River”, “Callin’ Baton Rouge”, “Standing Outside the Fire”, “Dive Bar”, “Friends in Low Places”, and “The Dance”.

Among the performing artists were Demi Lovato, John Legend, Alicia Keys, En Vogue, BTS, and Luke Combs.

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  • BTS, Black Pink, and the rest of k-pop top bands seem so artificial when it comes to statistics for streaming and sales. They don’t seem a natural progression but each band has a rabid group of followers who coordinate their band’s popularity. They are a great cultural phenomena seeped in multi-media and global appeal with catchy dance numbers and clever videos. But when it comes the primary art of music and sounds and songs, they have a long way to go. They are in no way creative, such as a Billie Eilish. They are still in their infancy with signs of mastering the art where they create new art instead of imitating western dance and music.

    October 16, 2020

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