BTS first K-pop act to top British chart

Boyband BTS at a showcase in Seoul last week for their album Map Of The Soul: Persona. It went straight to No. 1 in Britain.
Boyband BTS at a showcase in Seoul last week for their album Map Of The Soul: Persona. It went straight to No. 1 in Britain.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON • K-pop sensation BTS scored another record last Friday, becoming the first South Korean act to top Britain's album chart.

The floppy-haired, seven-man boyband's latest album, Map Of The Soul: Persona, went straight in at No. 1, days after their single Boy With Luv broke the YouTube record for the most views in 24 hours, with 74.6 million hits.

The track is also the band's first British Top 15 single, charting at No. 13 last Friday.

The band, known for their boyish looks and meticulously choreo-graphed dance moves, will play two sold-out nights at London's Wembley Stadium on June 1 and 2.

BTS - short for Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts - are one of South Korea's best-known and most valuable musical exports.

Last year, the group became the first K-pop band to top the American album charts, a sign of the genre's growing global appeal. That appeal has helped boost the brand image of South Korean products abroad, the Hyundai Research Institute said, making BTS a valuable economic asset.

About 800,000 tourists are believed to have chosen South Korea as their destination in 2017 because of BTS - more than 7 per cent of the total visitors to the country. Over US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) in consumer exports, like clothes, cosmetics and foodstuff, were associated with them, the institute said.

If BTS maintain their popularity, they can be expected to generate an economic value of 41.8 trillion won (S$49 billion) over the next 10 years, it added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2019, with the headline 'BTS first K-pop act to top British chart'. Print Edition | Subscribe