K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

K-pop group BTS breaks into US Top 40 as global reputation continues to grow

The seven-piece boy band’s Mic Drop debuted at No 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after huge downloads. Last Friday they picked up three awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 December, 2017, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 5:02pm

Boy band BTS, pop megastars in South Korea who are known for their dance moves and social media prowess, yesterday broke into the top 40 on the US singles chart for the first time.

Mic Drop debuted at No 28, driven by a particularly strong showing in downloads, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Who is BTS, and why did the K-pop band win a Billboard Music Award?

The band – who cleaned up at the Mnet Asian Music Awards (Mama) in Hong Kong last Friday, winning three awards, including artist of the year for the second year running, best music video for their song Spring Day and an award for best Asian style – incorporate more R&B and hip hop into their sound than most K-pop groups.

Mic Drop, driven by a dark percussion line, features a contribution by star New York rapper Desiigner and mixing by leading electronic dance producer Steve Aoki. The song appears on the EP Love Yourself: Her, which earlier this year hit No 7 on the US album chart, the highest ever for a Korean act.

Formed in 2013 by the Big Hit Entertainment company, the seven-member boy band have quickly become a top act in South Korea, Japan and other Asian markets.

The group are a constant social media presence in tech-savvy South Korea. Guinness World Records recently said BTS had more Twitter engagements than any other music group, defined by the average number of retweets.

The group have been seeking a greater presence in the United States, the world’s largest music market, and performed last month on the televised American Music Awards.

But BTS have yet to reach the global viral proportions of fellow Korean star Psy’s Gangnam Style, whose 2012 video with its equestrian-themed dance routine became the first to hit one billion views on YouTube.

Gangnam Style controversially only reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 – before tracking firm Nielsen Music made changes to give greater weight to YouTube views.

Mama Awards: Hong Kong rolls out red carpet for K-pop royalty at Asia’s biggest music awards

Only one Asian-language track has ever made it to number one on the Hot 100 – Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto’s Ue o Muite Arukou, known as Sukiyaki in English-speaking markets, in 1963.