What makes BTS stand out?

Breaking down the popularity of the world-famous South Korean musical act

The members of BTS.

The South Korean boy band BTS, short for Bangtan Sonyeondan or Beyond the Scene, has been killing it in the music industry since their debut in June of 2013.

They kicked off their careers as a relatively small K-pop group, but their new single “Dynamite,” released in August, hit number one in the Billboard Hot 100 chart and shattered a major YouTube record. Over seven years, they’ve gained a massive following from all around the world.  

The group is made up of seven members: V, Suga, Jimin, Jungkook, RM, Jin, and J-hope. BTS has immense popularity in South Korea and is one of the first K-pop groups to hit it big globally. Their success, spanning from top charting albums to world tours, has opened the doors for other groups to break out of the East Asian music market and on to the world stage.

With upbeat, catchy music and lyrics, it’s no wonder the boys of BTS have conquered the global music industry in a way few other artists have managed. Unlike the majority of North American boy bands, the group features members with different talents and strong suits, including singing, rapping, and dancing. Their versatility enables them to produce a wide variety of music, spanning from hip-hop to pop and R&B. They go full out with their choreography, even on stage—BTS is never just singing, it’s always a performance.

The group won their first award as Best New Artist at South Korea’s Melon Music awards in November of 2013, cementing the roots of their popularity within their home country. From there, they only grew, playing their first concert in the US in 2014, and in Canada in 2015.

The group attended the Billboard Music Awards in 2017—the first K-pop group to do so—and were awarded Top Social Artist, ending Justin Bieber’s six-year winning streak. In 2018, the group was invited to speak at the United Nations, where they encouraged young people to join global efforts to end poverty and discrimination.

Through their ever-increasing popularity, the group has collaborated with popular American artists including Halsey, Nicki Minaj, Steve Aoki, and Sia, putting themselves on even more people’s radars and launching themselves further into the North American mainstream.

One of the pillars of BTS’s success is their ability to connect with their fans. The group regularly interacts with their fans across social media, supplying followers with a never-ending stream of content. BTS also uploads their dance practices on YouTube, where fans can learn the advanced choreography and dance along.

More than anything else, though, it’s the music itself connecting the group to their fans. Their lyrics often have a profound understanding of the human condition, and their songs cover a breadth of topics that other artists shy away from, including bullying, self-acceptance, and mental health.

They have a diverse repertoire of songs that anyone can jam out to, and the group radiates a contagious positive energy with anything they do.

When it boils down to it, it’s impossible to narrow down just one thing that makes BTS so universally popular. It probably has something to do with their immense amount of talent and insanely good looks—but more importantly, it’s their compassionate message and dedication to their fans.


All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.