Celebrity Entertainment

BTS Success Story from Debut until Their Glorious Moment Now


There is no music act or group in the history of the Korean music industry that has been able to cross over and dominate the international music market like BTS. This seven-member music group led the Korean Wave into the United States and in the process broke several sales records. BTS is the first Korean act to reach number one on the US Billboard 200 with their highly successful album, “Love Yourself: Tea”.

BTS, or Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member South Korean music group. This successful boy band was formed in Seoul in 2010. They have a popular unique musical style which encompasses a variety of genres. Also, they are well known for their lyrics, which focuses on themes of troubles of school-age youth, loss, the journey towards loving oneself, individualism, and mental health. The Bangtan Boys is the first Korean group to receive a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for their hit single “Mic Drop”.


BTS Background Summary

  • Band name: BTS or Bangtan Boys Bangtan 
  • Origin: Seoul, South Korea
  • Genres: K-pop hip hop R&B EDM
  • BTS Members: Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin,.V, and Jungkook.

What does BTS stand for?

The band”s name, BTS, is an acronym for Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan (Korean: 방탄소년단; Hanja: 防彈少年團). This means “Bulletproof Boy Scouts.” While it may conjure up an image of superheroes, the meaning of the band is far more profound. J-Hope, a member of the group, revealed to Affinity Magazine that they adopted this name because it signifies the group’s readiness “to block out criticisms, stereotypes, and expectations that are directed on teenagers like bullets”. Also, they are known as Bōdan Shōnendan (防弾少年団) in Japan. This also bears the same translation. Meanwhile, in July 2017, the band announced that their group name BTS also stands for “Beyond the Scene” in English to cater to their English-speaking fans.


Who are BTS members?

RM (Name: Kim Nam-jun)

RM is a rapper and the official leader of the seven boy band. The 24 years old is the first member scouted by Bang Si-hyuk, who is the founder of BTS. At the time RM was discovered, he was an underground battle rapper. This young rapper has collaborated with famous artists like Wale and even was the first member of the group to release a solo work (his rap mixtape). Interestingly, The BTS group leader happens to be the only member who speaks English. It is widely reported he taught himself how to speak the English language by watching all the seasons of Friends.


J-Hope (Name: Jung Ho-seok)

The 24-year old J-Hope is a rapper and dancer. He is the third member to join the music group after RM and Suga. J-Hope was initially known for his dancing skills. He was a member of an underground dance group in his home province of Gwangju, and had even won a national dance competition in South Korea in 2008. However, once he became a member of the BTS, J-Hope developed his skill set as a rapper and songwriter. He is credited with several songs across the band’s discography. The rapper also has a Mixtape, “Hope World” to his name. The mixtape entered the Billboard 200 chart independently.


Suga (Name: Min Yun-ki)

Min Yun-ki, who now goes by the stage name Suga, is a 25-years old producer and rapper. Like BTS leader RM, he was once an underground rapper with the stage name Gloss. Suga is a multi-talent musical prodigy. He can play the piano, write songs, and produce music. As a producer, he has contributed to the production of several tracks of BTS as well as other artists’ projects. In 2016, Suga released a solo mixtape, Agust D, which focuses on a wide range of themes, from politics to mental health.


Jimin (Name: Park Ji-min)

Big Hit Entertainment discovered Park Ji-min during his high school days. He is a talented singer and dancer. The 22-year-old was talented in dance, and had trained in modern dance at Busan High School of Arts. He later transferred to Korea Arts High School, which another BTS member, V, also studied in. Park Ji-min currently goes by the moniker Jimin.


Jin (Name: Kim Seok-jin)

At 25 years of age, Jin is one of the oldest members of the Bangtan Boys Bangtan. He is a singer blessed with a sweet voice. “Worldwide Handsome” as fans fondly call him, was initially discovered on the street in South Korea before joining the BTS group. He can play the guitar and cooks as a hobby. The singer also has a popular food vlog, which is called Eat Jin. As an amateur foodie, he usually posts several videos of himself and sometimes other BTS members eating home-cooked meals on his vlog.


V (Name: Kim Tae-Hyung)

Kim Tae-Hyung is a 22-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer. He is also known by his stage name, V. Interestingly, his parents were actually both farmers, and his background was less than privileged, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his artistic dreams. The young singer is blessed with smooth vocals that characterize some of the BTS lower-tempo songs. He currently dabbles in photography and acting, and has acted in Korean historical drama, Hwarang.


Jungkook (Name: Jean Jeong-guk)

Jungkook is currently 21 years old, and he is the youngest member of the seven-member band. His real name is Jean Jeong-guk. He is most known for his vocals, and received offers from many entertainment agencies including Bit Hit Entertainment after his audition for South Korean talent show Superstar K Season 3.  Jungkook is not just a talented singer, but also one of the main vocalists of the group. In Korea, the youngest members of any group, be it family, friends, or music bands, are usually called the “Maknae,” which literally means the youngest person in the group. However, in BTS Jungkook has been deemed the “Golden Maknae,” in a bid to praise him for his singing chops. Besides singing, he is also gifted in drawing and has a black belt in taekwondo.

Who is the most popular BTS member?

Jungkook, who is one of the group lead singers, appears to be the most popular BTS member in Korea. He is also the most searched BTS member on Google. The singer equally has a huge fan following in the United States. On Ranker, Jungkook is placed second among fan-favourites, about 5,000 votes behind V. Additionally, RM is the only BTS member that can speak fluent English. As a result, he often speaks during interview and talk show appearances. This makes him one of the fans’ favourites in the United Kingdom and the United States.

When did BTS Debut?

Bang Si-hyuk, CEO of Big Hit Entertainment formed BTS in 2010. This was after he met with RM, the future group leader, and was impressed by his rap skills. Between 2010-12, he recruited six others (Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook) alongside RM, to put together an impressive seven-member boy band. The band was initially billed to be a hip-hop group, like YG Entertainment’s 1TYM. 

However, Bang Si-hyuk encouraged the group to be innovative and incorporate a wide range of contemporary genres into their music style. After its formation, the BTS featured on several songs by music acts such as Lee Seung-gi and 2AM. They also began to garner attention on various social media platforms, and song covers on YouTube. Even though the group debut album was supposed to be released in 2011, it was postponed to allow BTS to be reorganized into a more traditional idol group. 

Finally, BTS released their debut single album 2 Cool 4 Skool, on June 12, 2013. This album was the first installment in their School Trilogy, a series of mini-albums with the theme of “a defiant teenager”. The lead single “No More Dream”, reached number 124 in Korea the music chart before falling off the charts. Their second single “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2” failed to chart and was considered a big flop. 2 Cool 4 Skool sold over 145,000 copies and was not a hit commercially. The album’s lyrics mainly focused on the criticism of the society that diminishes their dreams, misunderstanding, and prejudices towards them, and their worries and readiness to succeed.

Timeline of BTS Career Success

2013 to 2014

The Korean group released the extended play O!RUL8,2?, alongside its lead single “N.O,” in September 2013. This EP was the second part of their School Trilogy. The EP reached number four in Korea and sold over 34,000 copies in its first year. As of today, “O!RUL8,2?” has sold over 160,000. The group did not fundamentally change their sounds on this project. Hence this EP reflected on their frustration with the Korean system of education, struggles, dreams, and determination to prove themselves. On 13 November 2013, BTS was recognized as Best New Artist at South Korea’s Melon Music Awards.

 In January 2014, BTS released the EP Skool Luv Affair which is the last act to their School Trilogy. The EP sold 100,000 copies in 2014 and over 250,000 copies till date. The Skool Luv Affair EP also reached number three on Billboard’s World Albums Chart, making it the band’s first entry on the chart. The group then went ahead to release their first Korean studio album, Dark & Wild in August 2014. This project reached number two in Korea and sold over 200,000 copies in total. The group also released a Japanese studio album, “Wake Up” in December of 2014.

2014 to 2015

Furthermore, they embarked on their first concert tour, 2014 BTS Live Trilogy Episode II: The Red Bullet. The tour began in October and was concluded in December. It was held in various halls and theatres in six cities: Bangkok, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Kobe, and Tokyo. The music band also found massive success with the release of their third EP, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 and fourth EP, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 in March and November 2015 respectively. The latter entered the Billboard 200 chart and peaked at number 171. This made it the group’s first entry in the US Billboard 200. 

2016 to 2017

Then in 2016, their first Korean compilation album, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever, was released to critical acclaim. The album was number one on the Gaon Weekly Chart in Korea for two consecutive weeks and also reached number 107 in the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. They also won album of the year for Young Forever at South Korea’s Melon Music awards. After that, this was followed by the release of the group’s second Japanese studio album Youth in September 2016. The album sold over 44,000 copies within 24 hours of release and topped the chart in Japan. In October of that same year, their second Korean studio album Wings was released. The album made a sale of over 500,000 copies during the first week of release. 

2017 – 2018

In February 2017, the repackaged edition of Wings (2016), entitled You Never Walk Alone sold over 700,000 copies. This broke the record for most albums sold in a month. BTS was then awarded a Billboard Music Award for top social artist in 2017. They became the first Korean group to receive such honour. The Korean band then continued to soar high with the release of EP entitled Love Yourself: Tear in May 2018. The successful EP debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts while selling over 1.2 million copies in Korea. They made history with this album as the first Korean album to top the US charts. They then performed at the Billboard Music Awards for the first time in 20 May 2018, and won the top social artist for the second year in running.

2019 -2020

BTS released a music video featuring Halsey in April 2019, entitled Boy with Luv, on Youtube, and garnered staggering 821 million views (and counting!). In the same month, the boy band once again made history as the first K-pop band to perform in Saturday Night Live. In May 2019, they performed Boy with Luv together with Halsey at the Billboard Music Awards. At the awards, they won the top social artist again, winning this title for three years consecutively.

This year, the Bangtan Boys celebrated their seventh anniversary with the Festa 2020, which ran from June 1 to June 13. The celebration is a present for their fans, with special photo collections , choreography videos, and even new songs. BTS also announced that they will live-stream a concert, Bang Bang Con: The Live, from June 14 for two weeks.

Why is BTS so popular?

Over the past two years, BTS has become increasingly popular in the US. The group has not only continued to dominate the Korean market but have established themselves as one of the most successful international acts in the world. They have spawned out critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums like Map of the Soul: 7. Their hit records such as “All Night” “Boy With Luv,” “fake love” and “DNA” have continued to set records and dominate the airwaves in the United States.

But as BTS members themselves have acknowledged, their overwhelming popularity is very much attributed to their faithful BTS Army from all over the world. Dedicated BTS Army fans treat the popularity of their favorite boyband very seriously. They work immensely hard to ensure BTS stays at the top, from endless streaming of their songs and videos, to managing BTS fan base website to attract even more fans. As one of the BTS Army fans had asserted, “I felt like BTS and I were inseparable, so that made me try harder for their success.” BTS is always extremely grateful for the immense love from their fans, and never fail to thank them whenever they receive their awards on stage.

What is their most Famous Song?

Most fans in Europe and America did not know BTS before famous tracks like “Boy With Luv,” “Fake Love” and “DNA” were released. But their Hit single “Boy With Luv,” from the album, “Map of the Soul: Persona,” changed things around for them as it broke records in the music industry. It further helps spread the group’s popularity across the United States and Europe.

Furthermore, the song earned several nominations at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. That includes the nominations for Best Collaboration, Best Choreography, and Best Art Direction. According to Refinery 29, “Boy With Luv” set a new record, becoming the YouTube music video with the most plays within 24 hours. The K-pop band BLACKPINK previously held this record. Although “DNA” is the band’s most popular music video on YouTube with 840 million views.

How much is BTS worth and which BTS member is the richest?

According to Forbes, BTS is the highest-paid K-pop group, earning $57 million in pre-tax income in 2019. They were ranked at No. 43, on Celebrity 100 list of the world’s highest-paid entertainers of 2019. A significant part of the group’s earnings came from their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” world tour, which was a massive success. It is estimated that the grossed about $44 million from just six stadium shows in the United States of America. Furthermore, the group also makes a fortune from endorsement deals, sales of albums, and merchandise. Interestingly, it is reported that J-Hope is the wealthiest BTS member. The singer is worth over $12 million. The reason for his increased wealth is due to the sales of his solo project, an EP entitled “Hope World.”

Finally, over the years, BTS has won several international prestigious awards like the MTV video awards, Billboard awards, and more. They are the first South Korean act to have sold more than 20 million albums, making them the best-selling artist in South Korea of all time.