Editors’ Note: Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.
In the seven years that the world-renowned group, BTS has been around, they’ve been able to achieve several historic “firsts,” and those historic achievements aren’t stopping anytime soon.
The group released the single” Dynamite” on August 21. “Dynamite” is a 70’s-influenced disco-pop song with elements of funk and soul. During the press conference for the single, Suga explained that “Dynamite is a bright, cheerful disco-pop and a message of confidence and happiness. It’s like after you fell on the ground, you’re trying to get back up again. That’s what this song is like.” In an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music, RM said the song is “made of positive vibes, energy, hope, love, the purity, everything.
After the track was released, records were broken with speed; it was hard to keep up as things were constantly changing. “Dynamite” set a new YouTube record for views in the first 24 hours of release with 101.1 million views. The video also snagged another record for most-viewed YouTube Premiere, with more than 3 million live concurrent viewers. The upbeat, funky track also rose to the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Top Songs chart in 104 countries and regions as soon as it was released. Let’s not forget that BTS had the biggest Spotify global debut in 2020 so far, with over 12.6 streams. It’s safe to say that “Dynamite” definitely lit up the charts!
Millions of ARMY’s rejoiced all over the world and were in awe of the records they broke but yet one thing the fandom had to wait on was where “Dynamite” was placed on the Billboard charts. Yesterday, August 31 marked another historic moment for BTS and their ever-supportive and devoted fandom, ARMY. BTS earned their first Hot 100 No. 1 with “Dynamite,” making them the first all-South Korean act to top the chart. The group also joins Aerosmith and the Jonas Brothers as the only bands in history to debut at #1 on the Hot 100. Upon hearing the news, millions of ARMYs worldwide were shocked and in awe of this moment. Bora, an ARMY since 2015, says she was “Ecstatic. Shocked. In disbelief. Not really taking in the magnitude of the moment because of the shock. I don’t know if I’ll fully understand or comprehend the moment until later.”
— billboard charts (@billboardcharts) August 31, 2020
The charts were updated early in the morning on September 1 in South Korea, which is also BTS member Jungkook’s birthday. I must say, this is the best birthday present that one could get. Getting No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 is a BIG DEAL. “Dynamite” is the 43rd song in history to open at number one on Billboard Hot 100 and it is the first song by an Asian act in 57 years to earn a #1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 since Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto in 1963 with a song “Sukiyaki”. It is also the only song by an Asian act to debut straight at #1 on the chart.
Jimin shared that the group “released Dynamite hoping it would give a little comfort to someone, not to break any records. But we got this amazing, unexpected news and I felt so happy and grateful.” With no bundles or features, BTS was able to not only achieve this spot on the Hot 100 but outsold the rest of the Top 50 Bestselling songs in the US this week combined.
With 265,000 downloads sold (among its overall first-week total of 300,000, which includes its vinyl and cassette physical versions), @BTS_twt's "Dynamite" debuts with the biggest digital sales week since @taylorswift13's "Look What You Made Me Do" in September 2017 (353,000).
— billboard charts (@billboardcharts) August 31, 2020
It’s never been a one-way street for BTS. With little to no radio play, their dedicated and ever-supportive fandom figured out that they would have to get the group to number one without it. There’s no denying that BTS is the biggest group in the world, but in the eyes of Western gatekeepers, they’ve had to prove themselves at every step of the way. BTS’ success is often reduced to a legendary social media strategy. Although some critics and the general public may not want to admit it, their success is more than just a “legendary social media strategy.” Forbes stated how “a No. 1 debut for “Dynamite” is the culmination of years of hard work, artistic evolution and a one-of-a-kind relationship with their fans that often resembles a mutual partnership.”
It’s evident from the reaction from BTS and their fans, ARMY, how much this moment meant for them both.
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) August 31, 2020
Jimin tweeted, “I’m completely bewildered, but it’s something you achieved, something you have to be congratulated on; I wish that you are happy now as much as this achievement. Thank you and thank you. #JIMIN #OurARMYReceivedAnAward.” He’s been using the hashtag #OurARMYReceivedAnAward since 2016, which is once again a testament to the one of a kind relationship that BTS has with their fans.
I was able to speak with a few ARMYs on how they felt when they saw the news of BTS getting their first-ever No.1 on the Hot 100.
Adam, an ARMY since late 2014, shared how he was shocked and even hours later, he was “still in shock. Overwhelmed by joy and just trying not to tear up.” Adam is well-aware of how hard it was to get to this position for BTS. “This is a result of seven years of hard work and having a dedicated fanbase that has their sight on giving BTS every possible achievement and trying to give them all the recognition they think these artists deserve. A few uncontrollable factors held these guys back from getting a No.1. Seeing everything come together this time around feels like poetic justice…”
Chioma, an ARMY of five years from England, explained how she felt “overwhelmed” with the news. “Asking me to pinpoint one single emotion I felt when I first saw the charts would be completely unfair because I was feeling so many things all at once and that all manifested itself through tears. Yeah. I cried. Really hard. Achieving a No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 is an aim that so many artists have, one that BTS also shared. It felt so surreal seeing their group name and their song title next right at the top of the chart. I even had to calm myself down and check to make sure the account tweeting it was legit. All the times BTS have mentioned this goal in the past, they did so in a way that painted the #1 spot as nothing more than a dream — something far fetched and unattainable. But now… now it’s their reality. Who wouldn’t cry after this?”
When Alaisia saw the announcement, she “froze in real life.” She’s been a “heavy and dedicated” fan of BTS for four years, so she was, of course, extremely proud. Alaisia explains that she didn’t scream or do anything but instead froze and her heart dropped. She shared, “but not in a bad way. It was a moment of realization where I said in my head, ‘ holy shit, they got the number one.’ I don’t think anyone can process the fact that a South Korean group TOPPED, yes, TOPPED, the Billboard Hot 100. That is extremely rare, especially in the way the music industry is set up in our current time, where many musicians of color are blocked from seeing their full potential in the industry.” Alaisia goes on to explain how she remembers seeing BTS’ performance of ‘Fire’ at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and was left “very impressed.”
With her love for performances and interest in huge production, stage presence, and entertainment, there’s no surprise that she became a fan of BTS. She shares how “I feel like me being proud would be simply pushed off by many others as me being a rabid fangirl, but that is simply not the case. BTS and their music gave me a place of comfort and knowing that it is okay to feel the way I feel as long as I’m doing things at my own pace. They’ve helped me progress in my mental health and just for that, I really do want the best for them and I want them to achieve every great thing possible out there. It’s the reason why I was very shell shocked when the boys got their first EVER #1 on the Hot 100.”
Ellouise has known about BTS since 2016 but became an ARMY at the start of 2019. She shared how “leading up to the moment I was so scared and was shaking cause I was on my way home from a day out. After seeing the tweet, I felt so happy but also felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was shaking the whole time while celebrating with my friends. It’s just so happy for me to see this cause I know how much and how hard they wanted this, and now to see the boys all up crying, it also made me super emotional because its everything the boy deserves while also making their country and parents proud.”
Trinity has been an ARMY since November 2016, just a month after BTS released the “Blood Sweat & Tears” music video. She shares how as soon as she watched the music video, she knew they were “special” and that “the music industry didn’t know what type of giant was about to arise.” Trinity goes on to explain that BTS have the “capability to captivate an audience,” and it’s something she’s never seen before. She states how it’s “mind-boggling” to see BTS get their first-ever No. 1 on the Hot 100. “When news broke out that BTS were the first international band in history to get that position, I was filled with immense pride.”
ARMYs know how much this moment means for BTS and how hard they’ve worked for it. Trinity goes on to share that, “from a fan’s perspective, knowing how much time and effort they put into their songs and choreography. To finally see it all pay off in such a way brings me great joy. They deserve all the fame and glory that comes their way. Hard work pays off when you are passionate about the things you do. And BTS? They wouldn’t be where they are now if they weren’t passionate about their craft. Music means everything to them and their music means everything to me.”
You heard it directly from some lovely ARMYs, this historical moment and achievement are well-deserved as BTS have put in years of hard work, passion and dedication into their craft. Congratulations to BTS and ARMY and stream Dynamite!
Featured Image via Big Hit Entertainment