BTS hit worth $1.96b to S. Korea


SEOUL • K-pop sensation BTS'  United States chart-topping single, Dynamite, could generate more than 1.7 trillion won (S$1.96 billion) for the South Korean economy and thousands of new jobs in the country, a government study claimed on Monday.

The trailblazing septet cemented their prominence in the world's biggest music market last week, when the all-English track debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The feat eluded rapper Psy, whose Gangnam Style was a global mega-hit in 2012, but peaked at No. 2 in the US for seven weeks that year.

The study by South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and a government tourism institute projected that the track would generate 1.7 trillion won of economic activity and nearly 8,000 new jobs.

As well as direct sales of more than 400 billion won, it would lead to nearly 600 billion won of cosmetics sales and almost 180 billion won in food and drinks, the study found.

The estimates were drawn from analysing the sales of BTS' label Big Hit Entertainment, along with statistics from South Korea's Customs, the central Bank of Korea and Google Trends data.

It excluded foreign tourism in the face of tight travel restrictions, imposed by Seoul over the coronavirus pandemic, which have also led to several concert cancellations.

"If we include the projected tourism revenue down the road... we expect the economic impact to be stronger," the ministry said.

It added that the economic effect will likely enhance South Korea's image and brand value.

K-pop, along 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$6.83 billion).


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2020, with the headline 'BTS hit worth $1.96b to S. Korea'. Print Edition | Subscribe