Will BTS Attempt a U.S. Crossover?
If you're living in the West, you don't even need to "get" K-Pop to appreciate the immense popularity of BTS — and they're only growing bigger with each passing release.
The seven-member troupe's (very good!) latest studio album, WINGS, made a record-breaking debut last month at No. 26 on the Billboard 200, marking the highest-charting, best-selling debut on the charts by a Korean act to date.
It makes sense, then, that the group would eventually contemplate a US crossover: an effort attempted by many, achieved by few...if any, really.
Bang Si Hyuk, the CEO of the group's record label Big Hit Entertainment, recently addressed the question via South Korean media — and kept it very real while doing so.
“We strive for a combination of great performances, charismatic visuals, and creating globally trendy music that is easy for Westerners to listen to," he explained of the BTS love overseas. (English translation via Soompi.)
“Moreover, [BTS] tell their own stories through their music, something that is not often done in K-pop, and they’ve continuously been accessible to fans via global platforms like Twitter and YouTube.”
But that's not enough — at least, not yet — to make them take the leap.
“A K-pop artist succeeding in Korea and getting noticed by the mainstream U.S. market because of the global scale of K-pop is completely different in every way from entering the U.S. market and competing with the mainstream artists there," Bang Si Hyuk explains.
“BTS has strengths as K-pop artists, and they’ve made it to where they are now by playing to those strengths. Because of this, we will be focusing in BTS’s growth as K-pop artists in the future as well. During that process [of growth], if [BTS] surpasses that critical point and is able to not just be noticed by the U.S., but jump into that market, we would be so thankful, but I think actively preparing for the U.S. market would be biting off more than we can chew.”
Long story short: it looks like BTS's "Blood, Sweat & Tears" will be focused solely on South Korean duties, unless something extraordinary happens overseas.
Considering their trajectory thus far, anything is possible.