And it’s a wrap!
Today marks the end of the iconic Love Yourself Era. BTS performed the final concert for the era at Rajamangala National Stadium, their last stop of the world tour. Filled with meaningful messages, powerful social campaigns, heartfelt fans’ moments, great professional achievements, and opportunities, the era brought a meaningful turn in the lives of the members as well as their fans.
Beginning with the poster reveal on 11th August 2017 and culminating with the release of “Idol” featuring Nicki Minaj, the “Love Yourself” era conveyed messages of self-love and self-discovery. A trilogy in structure, the era comprised of three albums – “Love Yourself: Her”, “Love Yourself: Tear”, and “Love Yourself: Answer”. Tracing back their journey to “The Most Beautiful Moments in Life”, the trilogy discussed the phases of “love”. Starting from the reliance on the “other” to satiate the need of the emotion, realizing the importance of self-love before it can be given to the others, and working through problems to find one’s “self”, the albums talked about the need to find one’s voice.
From tracks including “Go Go” that talked about the futility of trends, “Paradise” that encouraged listeners to take a breath, and “Idol” that attempted to address the question of “identity crisis”, BTS touched upon a variety of topics through their trilogy. Musically, we saw the boys experimenting with new genres, offering equal space for both the vocal line as well as the rap line to showcase their growth.
Culminating in Thailand, the Love Yourself era did not just provide an unforgettable experience to the people physically attending the concerts but also to those who did not have the luck to see the boys live. Enhancing their methods of promotion and distribution, the era also offered a glimpse into the growth of Big Hit’s processes as the label tried to connect fans across the globe for a collective musical experience through movies (Love Yourself In Seoul), webtoon (Save Me), book (The Notes), and a marketing campaign (ARMYPEDIA).
Shared through a concert movie titled Love Yourself In Seoul, fans from different parts of the world got a chance to experience BTS’ Love Yourself concert on a theater screen. This also allowed the outlets to understand the diverse reach of the group both in terms of the location and other important demographic factors like age and gender, who had presumably categorized the group’s fans as “young girls”.
As per the total available on Wikipedia, the concert movie grossed over $11.7 million worldwide and attracted 1.2 million spectators, excluding South Korea. Initially released for just one day, the popular demand for the movie led to its release for two subsequent days.
In terms of opportunities, the trilogy’s triumph along with the success of members’ individual projects including RM’s playlist “Mono”, J-Hope’s mixtape “Hope World”, and Jimin and V’s SoundCloud releases opened several doors for the group. From an invite to walk the red carpet and present an award at the prestigious Annual Academy Awards (Grammy), winning BBMAs for the second time in a row, becoming the youngest recipients of Cultural Merit awards in their home country to a feature on one of the most popular mainstream US magazine “Entertainment Weekly” and the show “Saturday Night Live”, BTS turned the tables on the industry that only saw their performative aspect while paying no heed to their capabilities as “socially conscious” artists.
Also as part of their campaign with UNICEF, BTS encouraged people around the world to participate in their movement of finding their lost voice. On 24th September 2018, the group was invited to speak at the United Nations. In collaboration with the organization, BTS, Lilly Singh and several leaders from different verticals launched a campaign titled “Generation Unlimited”. As shared via the press release on unicef.org,
Generation Unlimited will tackle the global education and training crisis currently holding back millions of young people and threatening progress and stability by focusing on three key areas of work: secondary-age education; skills for learning, employability and decent work; and empowerment.
Through Generation Unlimited, Kim Namjoon delivered a well-crafted and actionable speech, encouraging people to “speak yourself”. The term that became the motivation for the fans to share their own stories of self-love also became the title of BTS’ upcoming tour as well as the theme for their highly anticipated album.
With sold out Stadium Tours, the septet will be launching their new era titled “Map of the Soul”. Speculated to be a series like Love Yourself, the comeback trailer for the first (supposedly) album has already been released. Persona, the song that features RM, takes us back to Namjoon’s speech at the United Nations and BTS’ discography since their debut.
Headlining their third worldwide concert tour, the septet began BTS World Tour: Love Yourself on 25th August 2018 in Seoul. Traveling through 11 cities around the world including Japan, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand, BTS embarked on a journey that did not just help them bag awards of cultural importance but also made them an immense asset for the business industry and the global music industry.
In a study released by Hyundai Research Institute, BTS’ contribution to the South Korean economy was estimated to be 4.1 trillion won (S$5 billion) every year, an equivalent to 26 mid-size companies. The group was also considered to be a reason behind the increased interest of people in the country as a tourist destination. With the group contributing more than 7% of the visitors in the country, it was estimated that 1 in every 13 foreigners visited South Korea because of BTS. The transition from “artists” to “assets” was also visible in the music industry.
In a report released by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization that represents the recorded music industry, BTS were named as the second best selling artists of 2018 alongside artists like Drake and Ariana Grande. Their albums “Love Yourself: Answer” and “Love Yourself: Tear” became the second and third best selling albums with 2.7 and 2.3 million sales. As explained by the Billboard,
The independently verified IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year chart is based on sales of albums across digital, CD and vinyl formats; singles, both downloaded and physical; and streams across the calendar year. The chart includes all the music of each artist featured (not just one track or album), and uses album equivalent units to combine measurements of downloads, physical sales and streams.
Crafted with a lot of planning and advance stage techniques, the concerts provided us with some of the best stage moments. No wonder it won Daesang and Best Concert awards at Edaily Culture Awards. The 6th Edaily Culture Awards was organized in Seoul to recognize people in the performing arts. BTS became the first group to win a Daesang at the event. As shared by Soompi,
Each year, the Edaily Culture Awards names a Daesang winner from one of the recipients in its six categories based on the result of online voting by the judges and the public, as well as an evaluation from the Operations Secretariat of the Edaily Culture Awards.
A concert brings together an artist as well as their fans in a comfortable space where each participant can collectively as well as individually share their experiences. BTS have been able to provide that comfortable space to their fans who do not just come to share their love for the boys but also to share their love for other fans.
As we wait for the new era to unfold on 12th April, we will be coming back to “Love Yourself” to connect the dots for the narrative and to relive the magic we experienced through the breathtaking vocals and heart warming performances.
What is your favourite moment from Love Yourself era? Share via tweets @CelebMix.