A conference was recently held in Seoul with the title “Hallyu Culture, Industry, and K-Pop: The Example of BTS” in which many industry experts and university professors presented their opinions and research. Here’s what they had to say!
1. Professor Hong Seok Kyung from Seoul National University’s presented on “The Meaning of BTS’s Success”.
They suggested that BTS’s creative and spontaneous communication [with their audience] has the potential to evolve into ‘new idol culture’.
The professor also emphasized that their success is also a win for areas outside of Seoul (all the members are not from Seoul), small-medium sized companies, and non-mainstream media.
2. Furthermore, Professor Kim Joo Ok from the University of Texas A&M presented on “America’s Acceptance of BTS”.
They suggested that Americans are interested in BTS because quite simply, they are famous artists and mentions of them are everywhere — especially after their first appearance at the BBMA’s.
“In the American pop market, BTS’s brand power is evident…while at the same time, they are being acknowledged for being so musically put-together.” — Kim Joo Ok, Professor at University of Texas A&M
3. Professor Lee Gyu Tak from George Mason University in Virginia, U.S.A. spoke on “Popular Music Industry and BTS”.
They emphasized that their fanclub ARMY has lead the globalization of idol fandoms.
Professor Lee said that ARMY moves skillfully and aggressively, motivated by their loyalty, plus the artist and fandom’s interactions are very tight-knit. They also emphasized the professional nature of BTS, as well as their commitment to communicating with fans through their contents.
A panel with Professor Kim Jung Seob from Sungshin Woman’s University, YG Entertainment’s Director of Performance Jung Chi Young, Writer Kim Sung Cheol, and Canon Korea’s Marketing Manager Son Sook Hee on BTS’s popularity was also held.
4. According to Professor Kim, Big Hit has used a marketing strategy of “not complete exposure.”
They have exposed enough of BTS’s personal life that they remain relatable, but also keep certain parts covered to maintain their image.
Professor Kim also noted that Big Hit is also in the midst of a power struggle with other top idol companies, as the companies are keeping a close eye on Big Hit in the face of BTS’s success.
5. YG’s Director of Performance pointed out that BTS’s success is the breaking point for K-Pop.
They believe that K-Pop has the potential to break through Asia and go to North America, South America, Europe, and more however, K-Pop’s “holy land” Korea, is lacking in national support and industry infrastructure. For example, Seoul is the only city out of the 10 ten cities in the world without a professional concert arena.
6. Writer Kim Sung Cheol said that when the Wonder Girls tried to take on America, it was a case of “forced exportation.”
Meanwhile, BTS used social media to widen their fanbase and had American media companies pull BTS into the industry further.
They also used the strategy of taking their personal lives and stories and turning them into contents for their fans.
7. Son Sook Hee from Canon Korea emphasize the quality and completeness of BTS’s music and performance, as well as their skills as the cause for their success as singers and artists.
They specifically pointed out their albums which have been produced as series and contain songs about humanity plus universal problems and issues.
They summarized that BTS’s success comes from a solid foundation of talent and hard work plus music and contents that highlight each of the members’ individuality and charms which also deliver their sincerity — causing the public to empathize with them.