BTS first all-S. Korean act to top US singles charts

K-pop band BTS roared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts in the United States on Monday, becoming the first Korean pop act to debut at No. 1.
BTS performing from South Korea on Sunday for the MTV Video Music Awards, where they scored the Best Pop award.
BTS performing from South Korea on Sunday for the MTV Video Music Awards, where they scored the Best Pop award. PHOTO: MTV

NEW YORK • K-pop sensation BTS have become the first all-South Korean act to rule the top United States singles chart, with their English-language Dynamite hitting No. 1, industry tracker Billboard announced on Monday.

It is another milestone cementing the seven-member boy band's global dominance, coming hours after BTS beat American heavyweights, including Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift, to score the Best Pop award at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.

Dynamite, the first BTS single sung completely in English, was released on Aug 21 and tallied 33.9 million US streams in just one week, with 300,000 units sold.

In securing the top spot, the song unseats Cardi B's raunchy hit WAP, featuring fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion, a not-safe-for-work bop that held No. 1 for two consecutive weeks.

BTS' achievement comes after they reached the Billboard Hot 100's fourth slot in March, with the song On.

Three of BTS' albums have hit No. 1 on Billboard's album charts, but this is their first Hot 100 top single.

Billboard's all-genre Hot 100 blends US streaming, radio airplay and digital sales data to rank the top hits.

BTS - comprising J-Hope, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Suga and V - are the first all-South Korean group to reign the chart.

South Korean soloist Psy reached No. 2 for seven weeks in 2012, with his viral dance juggernaut Gangnam Style.

The first Asian artist to top the chart was Japanese-born crooner Kyu Sakamoto, whose Sukiyaki held the ranking for three weeks in June 1963.

K-pop, with K-drama soap operas, has been one of South Korea's most successful cultural exports.

A key component of the "Korean Wave" that has swept Asia and beyond over the last two decades, the K-pop industry is estimated to be worth some US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion).

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2020, with the headline 'BTS first all-S. Korean act to top US singles charts'. Print Edition | Subscribe