Posted November. 25, 2017 08:34,
Updated November. 25, 2017 09:14
How popular is BTS to the U.S. general public aside from their fan club “A.R.M.Y.”? Why U.S. broadcasters are scrambling to cast the Korean boy band? The following is an interview with pop music critic Kim Young-dae from his home in Seattle, the United States.
― Is it true that Americans know about BTS?
“The general public are not the main consumers of pop music, therefore will be unfamiliar with BTS. But the Korean boy band is highly popular among students, who use social media. In fact, the popularity of this boy band is hard to measure simply by the public awareness of BTS. For example, the U.S. public know well about celebrity Selena Gomez through TV shows and the gossip section of magazines, but they do not know her songs. The same goes with BTS. The public awareness of BTS will increase rapidly across the country with their appearances on American Music Awards and other shows. The public awareness in the United States is highly dependent on appearance on network TV.”
― Why do you think the U.S. media are competitively casting BTS?
“Lack of boy bands in the U.S. music market has led to a thirst for new ones. Just then, the media found out about BTS, which was raising its presence worldwide. They have what it takes to be a star along with their music, performance and looks. On top of that, they have a huge presence in social media platforms, which guarantees great marketing effect. By embracing this star material, the U.S. music market is seeking to stimulate change in its pop culture. This is how the U.S. music market has been utilizing foreign music.”
― Is it like Latin pop within the U.S. music industry?
“The U.S. music industry has been embracing Canadian, Britain and Latin music easily. The nationality of singers from those countries is not even mentioned anymore. We have witnessed popularity of Psy. The difference between Psy and BTS is that the latter can easily appeal to young generations of various ethnicities and they will not be a one-hit wonder as they have the star quality. I believe the media saw possibility in that. BTS is described as the boyband, who landed on the United States being compared to the Beatles’ U.S. invasion instead of being introduced as a star from Asia.”
― Do you think BTS’ presence in the social media will play an important role?
“Yes. At the Billboard Music Awards, the hosts took trouble to introduce the name of BTS’ fan club multiple times. They even asked other guests about the Korean boy band. The media probably has social media data accumulated during the past year, including the number of posts mentioning BTS and their ripple effect. After BTS has won Top Social Artist Award at the Billboard Music Awards, the media are pumping out articles on the boy band. This shows that the media already knows the band’s impact. Only a few superstars such as Tailor Swift and hip-hop musicians have that level of impact. There is no way the U.S. mainstream media will miss that chance.”