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BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member South Korean boy band formed by Big Hit Entertainment. Their name in Korean, Bangtan Sonyeondan (Hangul: 방탄소년단; Hanja: 防彈少年團), and Japanese, Bōdan Shōnendan (防弾少年団), both translate to "Bulletproof Boy Scouts".
They debuted on June 13, 2013, with the song "No More Dream" from their first album, 2 Cool 4 Skool, for which they won several "New Artist of the Year" awards including those at the 2013 MelOn Music Awards and Golden Disk Awards, and the 2014 Seoul Music Awards. A year after their debut, they received major bonsang awards for their subsequent albums Dark & Wild and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1.
BTS continued rising to widespread prominence with their The Most Beautiful Moment in Life trilogy, with The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 and The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever both debuting inside the Billboard 200. The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part 2 also charted at number one on the Billboard World Albums Chart and remained there for multiple weeks, making BTS the first K-pop act to achieve that feat. The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever went on to win the coveted "Album of the Year" award at the 2016 Melon Music Awards. This win marked BTS's first daesang, or 'grand prize', since their debut.
The group continued to surpass themselves with the release of their second full album, Wings, which charted at #1 on iTunes in over 26 countries. The album also debuted at 26 on the Billboard 200, which marked the highest chart ranking for a K-pop album ever, as well as making BTS the first K-pop act to log three entries onto the chart, and the first to spend more than one week on the chart. In their native South Korea, Wings sold 681,924 albums in its first month, breaking the record for the highest first month sale for an album in Gaon history, as well as is the best selling album in Gaon history thus far. The album's title track, "Blood Sweat & Tears" (Korean: 피 땀 눈물), became the group's first domestic number one hit on the Gaon Digital Chart. To date, BTS's discography has sold an estimated 2.7 million albums worldwide.
Known for their large social media presence, BTS were listed by Forbes as the most retweeted artist on Twitter in March 2016. Following that, Twitter launched its first ever K-pop Twitter emoji featuring BTS. In October 2016, Billboard placed BTS as #1 on their Social 50 chart, making them the first Korean group to top the chart. Also known for their large international fanbase, having performed and sold out tours in Asia, Europe, Australia, North America and South America, BTS's outstanding performances won them the Best World Performer award in the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards. Just a year later, BTS went on to win the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Award for Artist of the Year.
BTS's first members were recruited through Big Hit's "Hit it" auditions in 2010 and 2011. The original lineup went through several changes before the final group of members was established in 2012. Half a year prior to debut, the members began building their name and creating a relationship with fans through Twitter, video blogs, fancafe posts and by releasing various song covers via YouTube and SoundCloud.
Before debuting in 2013, Rap Monster was already performing as an underground rapper and had released several tracks informally, including a collaboration with Zico. Jin had been a student at Konkuk University, majoring in acting, before being streetcast for auditions, while Suga was an underground rapper in Daegu. J-Hope, who was part of a street dance team named NEURON, was active in the underground dancing scene, participating in various battles and competitions. Before joining Big Hit, Jimin entered Busan High School of Arts as the top student in modern dance, but later transferred to Korea Arts High School with V, who auditioned in Daegu. Jungkook was cast by multiple agencies after leaving auditions for Superstar K, but eventually chose Big Hit.
2013–2014: Debut with 2 Cool 4 Skool, O!RUL8, 2?, Skool Luv Affair and Dark & Wild
The first album of BTS's "school trilogy" series and their debut single album, 2 Cool 4 Skool, was released on June 13, 2013 with the lead single "No More Dream". Their debut album won them several "New Artist of the Year" awards, including those at the 2013 MelOn Music Awards and Golden Disk Awards and the 2014 Seoul Music Awards. On September 11, BTS released their first mini-album, O!RUL8,2?, which consisted of 10 tracks.
They also starred in their own variety show, SBS-MTV's Rookie King Channel Bangtan. The premise of the show was based on a fake broadcast station, "Channel Bangtan", through which the members parodied variety shows such as VJ Special Forces and MasterChef Korea. Rookie King Channel Bangtan premiered its eight-episode run on September 3, 2013.
The third part of the "school trilogy", their second mini-album Skool Luv Affair, was released on February 12, 2014. BTS promoted the album's title track "Boy in Luv (상남자)", releasing its music video on February 11. The album peaked at number 3 on Billboard's World Albums Chart. BTS then came back with "Just One Day (하루만)", with its music video released on April 6.
On March 7, Big Hit Entertainment announced that BTS were to release their Japanese debut single album, consisting of the Japanese versions of their current songs. The album, 2 Cool 4 Skool, was released on April 23; their first single was a Japanese version of "No More Dream".
On June 14, BTS took part in the Bridge to Korea festival in Russia, an event that aimed to promote tourism between the two countries. There, they became judges of a K-pop cover dance competition and later performed on stage in front of 10,000 spectators. The group also attended KCON in Los Angeles alongside Girls' Generation and other artists on August 10, 2014.
On August 19, BTS released the music video for their comeback single "Danger" from their first full album, Dark & Wild, which sold over 109,098 copies. They made a comeback with "War of Hormone (호르몬 전쟁)", a track from Dark & Wild. Its music video was released on October 21, 2014.
BTS continued to promote in Japan, releasing their first Japanese studio album, Wake Up, on December 24. This album not only included Japanese versions of their songs, but also their first Japanese original tracks: "Wake Up" and "The Stars".
During the 2014 Mnet Asian Music Awards, BTS was nominated for the "Best Dance Performance" and "UnionPay Song Of The Year" awards. In addition to performing "Boy In Luv", they also had a collaboration stage with Block B during the awards show.
BTS then held their first concert tour, 2014 BTS Live Trilogy – Episode II: The Red Bullet, throughout October, November and December. They toured Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.
2015: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, world tour and rising popularity
From February 10–19, 2015, BTS toured Japan for the first time with the Wake Up: Open Your Eyes tour. They performed to 25,000 fans in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. On March 28, BTS held their second solo concert in Korea, titled BTS Live Trilogy – Episode 1: BTS Begins.
The group's third EP, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1, was released on April 29, 2015. It was listed in June by Fuse as one of the "27 Best Albums of 2015 So Far" and was the only Korean album listed that year. On May 5, 2015, their title track "I Need U" won first place on SBS MTV's The Show, which marked their first win since their debut. Signal Entertainment announced that The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 had sold over 180,000 copies since its release.
On June 4, BTS released their fourth Japanese single, "For You", to celebrate their first anniversary of their Japanese debut, with its music video released on the same day. The single climbed to the top on Oricon's daily chart, selling 42,611 copies within its first day.
On June 23, BTS released their music video for their follow up single, "Dope (쩔어)", from The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1, receiving 1,000,000 views in less than 15 hours. "Dope (쩔어)" rose to its peak at number 3 on Billboard's World Digital Chart despite being released two months earlier.
The group's world tour, 2015 Live Trilogy Episode: The Red Bullet, continued with stops in Malaysia, Latin America, Australia and the United States, and ended in Hong Kong on August 29.
BTS was a part of the 2015 Summer Sonic Festival tour in Japan, performing on August 15 at Tokyo's QVC Marine Field and on the 16th in Osaka. On September 8, it was announced that BTS would return with the album The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 on November 30. They also held a three-day concert tour, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: On Stage, from November 27–29, where they showcased their title track "Run".
At the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards, they received the Best World Performer in recognition of their international fanbase. During the event, they performed "Run" and had a short collaboration stage with GOT7. The band released the Japanese version of "I Need U" as their fifth Japanese single on December 8.
2016: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever, Youth and Wings
BTS released their sixth Japanese single, "Run", on March 15. On May 2, they released a special compilation album, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever; they held two days of concerts at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul from May 7–8 in support of their albums. A total of 24,000 fans attended. After that, the group began their Asia tour, which sold out 144,000 concert tickets. The group also headlined KCON in both Los Angeles and New York in June and July 2016, both to sold out audiences.
On September 7, 2016, they released their second Japanese studio album Youth, selling over 44,000 copies in its first day of release, and shot up to first place on the daily albums chart in Japan.
On October 10, 2016, BTS released their second full-length studio album, Wings, with the title track "Blood Sweat & Tears". Pre-orders for the album, which contains 15 tracks, started on September 28, and reached over 500,000 copies within the first week. The group achieved an "all-kill" on the South Korean music charts in addition to hitting number one on the iTunes album chart in over 26 countries and territories. Within 24 hours of the music video for "Blood Sweat & Tears" being released, it reached over 6 million views. This broke the previous record on YouTube for the highest number of views on a K-pop group music video within 24 hours. The album managed to make it to the U.K. Official Albums Charts, making history as the first Korean act to do so. The album also debuted at #26 on the Billboard 200 chart with 16,000 units earned in the week ending October 13. This made the new U.S. record for "Highest Charting and Best Selling K-pop Album", with 2NE1's Crush previously holding the record at #61 in 2014. It also marked them as the first K-pop act to log three entries on the Billboard 200. A few days later, it was revealed that BTS had topped the World Albums Chart, World Digital Songs Chart and Social 50 Chart for week of October 29. They also charted on YouTube Music Global Top 100 – 17th on the video chart, 6th on the artist chart and 14th on the tracks chart.
From November 12–13, BTS held a large scale fan meeting at Gocheok Sky Dome. All 38,000 tickets were sold out.
On November 19, 2016, BTS announced the new Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour. The tour is set to visit South Korea, Chile, Brazil, the United States, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Australia. On the same day, BTS won "Album of the Year" with The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever at the Melon Music Awards. This award marked BTS's first daesang, or 'grand prize', since debut. On December 2, 2016, BTS won their second daesang for "Artist of the Year" at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards. By doing this, BTS became the first artist not from a "Big 3" entertainment company (S.M., YG and JYP) to win the award.
2017: You Never Walk Alone
On February 13, 2017, BTS re-released their second full-length studio album, Wings, titling it You Never Walk Alone. Pre-orders for the album, which contains 4 new tracks, reached over 700,000 copies. Title track "Spring Day" achieved an all-kill on 8 of the major South Korean online music charts, having crashed the Melon digital chart upon its initial release due to traffic overload. "Not Today" reached no. 11 on the US iTunes Song Chart, whereas "Spring Day" charted 8th, marking the first time a K-pop group entered the Top 10. "Spring Day" also topped the iTunes Song Chart in Brunei, Finland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, whereas You Never Walk Alone topped the iTunes Album Chart in Armenia, Brunei, Finland, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Within 24 hours of the music video for "Spring Day" being released, it reached over 9 million views. This broke the previous record on YouTube for the highest number of views on a K-pop group music video within 24 hours, previously held by the music video of their own song "Blood, Sweat, and Tears". However, the new record was broken a week later after the group released the music video for "Not Today", which accumulated over 10 million views in said time span. Following its release, "Spring Day" became the fastest K-pop group music video to reach 20 million views, achieving the feat in less than 4 days. The group performed the new tracks from You Never Walk Alone for the first time at the South Korean leg of the 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour, a week after its release.
The group's musical style and image ranges from a tough, "bad boy" image to a more youthful image, nevertheless mainly influenced by hip hop and R&B. MTV's Corynn Smith stated that BTS has incorporated hip hop beats and rock-inspired elements for their singles "Danger" and "Boy in Luv (상남자)". BTS has been labelled as "K-pop's Social Conscience" by Jeff Benjamin from Fuse, who wrote that the group has found "a way to speak honestly about topics they deem important, even in a conservative society. In a world of social media and overexposure, everyone has a platform to speak as loudly as they want and potentially reach millions. BTS is taking that platform and talking about things that are not only brave to tackle in modern music, but especially in its traditional community. This is the type of group that will not only boast a more passionate fan base for the way they made them feel from a certain hit single, but also one that can help push a society forward while they're at it." In 2016, however, their lyrics in "War of Hormone", "Converse High" and Rap Monster's solo song "Joke" along with a Twitter comment by Suga came under fire for being misogynistic. The group's label later issued an apology.
Through their many releases, BTS has tackled school bullying, the pursuit of happiness and rejecting society's ideals in their lyrics. Their unapologetic exploration of social topics, and challenging societal norms that most K-pop acts choose not to approach. After achieving record-breaking success internationally with their second studio album, Wings, Grace Jeong, editor-in-chief of Soompi, explains their rise: "The group blends individual artistry, which is what the U.S. audience expects in their music, and the K-pop system, which focuses more on the group sound and teamwork." In a Billboard article, Jeff Benjamin further describes the group's distinct sounds and lyrics, stating: "Indeed, the Major Lazer-esque lead single "Blood Sweat & Tears" details a life-derailing relationship over a dance breakdown. Elsewhere on the album Wings, the group sings about mental health, takes digs at the Korean-pop "idol" scene and delivers a female-empowerment anthem—unusual subject matter in culturally conservative South Korea, where most acts stick to safe topics like partying and breakups."
Billboard magazine recognized the group as one of K-pop's top competitive music producers of today: "Co-writing and producing on nearly every track, the K-pop phenoms proved how they can compete with top pop acts." All members of the group participate in composing and producing the group's songs. The Daily Dot describes them as "setting a standard for the bands that will come after them. Their souls are in their performances because they helped to create them—an investment that makes all the difference between memorizing dance routines and embracing them with passion."
In 2015, they donated 7 tons (7,187 kg) of rice for charity at the K-Star Road opening ceremony, held at Apgujeong-dong, Gangnam District, Seoul. A year later they participated in ALLETS's charity campaign "Let's Share the Heart."
In January 2017, it was revealed that BTS and Big Hit Entertainment had donated 100,000,000 Korean won (~85,000 USD) to the 4/16 Sewol Families for Truth and A Safer Society, an organization that is connected to the families of the 2014 Sewol Ferry Disaster. Each member had donated 10,000,000 won with their Big Hit itself donating 30,000,000 won more. It was also revealed that the donation was intended to be secret, with Big Hit stating that it was "a personal decision by the members."
In October 2015, it was announced that BTS would be the new brand ambassador for sports brand Puma.
In 2016, the group were met with a series of endorsements, including being selected as the face of SK Telecom, 'BBQ Chicken', and 'Smart Uniform'. Nexon also announced that they would be releasing character avatars based on the members for their RPG game, Elsword. That year, they topped the 'Boy Group Brand Power Ranking', published by the Korean Corporate Reputation Research every month to highlight the "marketability of male groups in the Korean commercial advertisement industry", for 9 out of 12 months.
Jin was born Kim Seok-jin (Korean: 김석진) on (1992-12-04) December 4, 1992 in Gwacheon, South Korea.
Suga was born Min Yoon-gi (Korean:: 민윤기) on (1993-03-09) March 9, 1993 in Daegu, South Korea. He has also released music as a solo artist since August 2016 under the name Agust D.
J-Hope was born Jung Ho-seok (Korean: 정호석) on (1994-02-18) February 18, 1994 in Gwangju, South Korea.
Rap Monster was born Kim Nam-joon (Korean: 김남준) on (1994-09-12) September 12, 1994 in Ilsan, South Korea. He has also released music as a solo artist since March 2015.
Jimin was born Park Ji-min (Korean: 박지민) on (1995-10-13) October 13, 1995 in Busan, South Korea.
V was born Kim Tae-hyung (Korean: 김태형) on (1995-12-30) December 30, 1995 in Daegu, South Korea. He made his acting debut in 2016 with Hwarang.
Jungkook was born Jeon Jeong-guk (Korean: 전정국) on (1997-09-01) September 1, 1997 in Busan, South Korea.