The biggest part of being in a fandom is the communal joy you share when your idol is making moves to release more content – this past week the ARMY (which, lets be honest never really stopped) mobilised itself, rallying each other to make sure they get behind whatever BigHit brought out ahead of the imminent BTS comeback.
Incase you’ve been living under a rock – BTS have completely sold out 2 nights at Wembley Stadium with little-to-no promotion, and quite literally 0 mins airplay on UK radio. Apparently I can’t discuss BTS without sounding like either a proud mum-of-7 or a total piece of trash… Let’s just roll with it.
This marks a massive change (in large part due to BTS’ success these past 2 years) which has been bubbling away since the early 2010’s. Young people around the world aren’t looking to traditional radio and TV to define their tastes – we’re global and we don’t want to be locked into American/ Eurocentric airwaves.
“But do you know what they’re saying?” My fave question – hun I’m pretty sure the majority of opera was in Italian and everybody loved that back in your heyday. Just kidding.
I lose hope every time I turn on the radio and hear the same songs, just in a different order. I feel like the online world does a far better job at breaking new artists and genres than TV and Radio can ever hope to do. And this is (was?) the problem BTS faced (even artists like Khalid and Billie Eilish.) Radio and TV want to encourage younger people back, but at the same time they don’t want to scare off their older solid base of fans by playing content which is “out of the ordinary…”
It’s a generational divide, digital vs. traditional. I’d even go so far as to say that perhaps BTS are the first digital phenomenon to go on and redefine what it means to be an artist. They (and others like them) aren’t necessarily chasing the radio plays.
BTS are changing the face of the music industry – I’ve seen heartwarming comments about them underneath our youtube videos, ranging from increasing Asian representation to how they’ve helped young people overcome mental struggles with their deep narrative and messaging.
BTS will definitely make it into the charts with their comeback, no question about it. But there’s always a uphill battle getting the air time they need. But here’s the question – do they need it?