BTS are yet to slow down, and 2021 is further proof of that. Adding another successful year to their continuous streak, it does make you wonder, “how else can they possibly top this?” Though we are pretty confident that somehow, someway, the Bangtan Boys will manage to do so. In a second year full of uncertainty and abnormality, the septet went above and beyond yet again, making 2021 unforgettable for both them and ARMY. Let’s take a look at just some of the many highlights they’ve had in the past twelve months.
Making GRAMMY History
BTS became the first-ever K-POP to be nominated at the GRAMMY Awards back last year, and in March, the ceremony was held. They kickstarted the weekend with a performance for the MusiCares Music On A Mission virtual concert before the main event on Sunday. Though they did not win at this year’s awards, their loss is still very much a success. They are the first K-POP group to put the brickwork down on the path to the GRAMMYs for the industry, both with nominations and performances. This also put the Bangtan Boys front and center stage at the heart of the music industry at the most prestigious music awards, letting the world just who they are and why they are winning hearts wherever they may go. Though an award would have been amazing, we know and ARMY know, that these honors are not what defines a good artist. BTS are so much bigger than an award, and this year has proven exactly that.
IFPI’s Recording Artist Of The Year 2020
Unlike a panel-voted award, this one comes from data, which means that by no surprise, BTS were the recipients of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Artist of the Year 2020. Announced in March, this unique award is calculated according to global performance across both digital and physical formats throughout the year, covering their entire body of work as opposed to just that year’s particular releases. This is the first IFPI win for BTS, becoming not only the first Korean act to win the accolade, but also the first winner to perform primarily in another language other than English.
Speaking on their win, IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore shared: “BTS are a global phenomenon. They have had another outstanding year, releasing three albums, and continually finding creative and engaging ways to share their story with the world. They truly show the power that music has to bring joy and happiness to people the world over.” We’re so proud!
BTS, The Best Marked Their Japanese Comeback
Back in April, BTS released the title track of their Japanese greatest hits album compilation BTS, The Best which released later in June. ‘Film Out’ became the OST of the Japanese version filmed on the popular K-Drama Signal and was written by Jungkook, of Japanese rock power trio Back Number, Iyori Shimizu, and UTA. The music video became their fastest Japanese music video to exceed 100 million views on YouTube, and reached the No.1 spot on YouTube’s weekly chart of the most watched videos globally. It reached the Japanese Top Five on Billboard Global 200, making it the first Top Five hit performed in Japanese, and first Japanese Top 10 hit by a group on the tally. In addition to this, they became the first musical act to hit the top 10 in three languages, which is pretty darn impressive if you ask us! With ‘Film Out’ hitting the fifth place, they proceeded to collect their fifth Top 10 hit on Billboard Global 200 which also made them the group with the most wins within that space.
But it’s not just ‘Film Out’ garnering the success and their wins didn’t restrict to just Billboard. BTS, The Best debuted on the top spot of the Oricon Daily Album Chart, selling 571,589 physical copies in just one day, making it the best-selling album of the year. It also topped the Orican Albums Chart for the week ending June 28th, selling 782,369 copies and spent three consecutive weeks on top of the chart, and topped the Billboard Japan’s Hot Albums. MULTILINGUAL KINGS.
The Release Of ‘Butter’
BTS bounced back with a brand new single in the form of ‘Butter‘ and it truly had us melting! Just when you thought you couldn’t top ‘Dynamite,’ ‘Butter’ said “hold my drink” as it came to dominate. Their second English single was greeted with a considerable amount of success (to the point we could dedicate a whole article and then some just to that alone) including 11.042 million first-day streams on the Spotify Global Chart, making it the biggest song debut in the platform’s history, and also surpassing their personal best, surpassing 7.778 million streams for the debut of ‘Dynamite’ last year. The single was added to all 180 Top 40 radio stations in the United States, receiving 2,217 spins in its first week and was the first song by an international artist to become the most-added track at radio in its opening week, also making BTS the first group to achieve this.
The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving them their fourth No.1 in under nine months and making them the fastest act to achieve four No.1’s since Justin Timberlake in 2006-2007, and the first group since The Jackson 5 in 1970, and also the only group to debut three songs in the lead. ‘Butter’ charted in the top spot for an overall 10 weeks, and was also named by the chart company as the Song of the Summer. They also earned five Guinness World Records, and some awards, but more on that later…
The Return Of Festa And Muster
As per tradition, BTS celebrated their anniversary with their annual Festa, a celebration with ARMY reflecting on their time together with special treats. This year we got things such as RM’s ‘Bicycle’ and choreography videos, and even School Year Festa exam taken both by the members and ARMY. The celebration closed with two days of Muster performances. With the pandemic last year, Muster was replaced with BangBangCon: The Live, so we were excited to see them back on stage for the SOWOOZOO Muster even if it meant the audience was solely online. We also got a special treat in the form of OT7 performing Agust D‘s ‘Daechwita’ and j-hope‘s ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ which was a rarity. We even got the Korean version of ‘Wishing On A Star.’ It earned over $71 million and even broke viewership records, with 1.33 million paid viewers from across 195 countries, once again beating their own record with Map of the Soul On:e at the end of last year. Is there any other way to celebrate our boys?
Becoming Louis Vuitton Ambassadors
In April, Louis Vuitton officially announced BTS as their latest house ambassadors, meaning they’d be teaming up with the luxury French fashion house on a number of special projects and styled in a number of their outfits for various appearances. Speaking about their collaboration, the brand referred to the septet as “one of the most renowned and influential groups in the world,” adding that “BTS’ ubiquitous popularity resonates worldwide and Louis Vuitton is very happy to share news of their new role within the House.” In the summer we then saw the Bangtan Boys in the Men’s Fall-Winter 2021 Show in Seoul, modelling the late designer Virgil Abloh’s collection that “employs fashion as a tool to change predetermined perceptions of dress codes.” Our boys are always in style so this truly was a match made in heaven!
The BTS Meal
BTS aren’t limited to music, they’re influential in a number of areas. Back in the summer, the septet collaborated with McDonald’s as they became the third artist in the Famous Orders series as they shared their order of Chicken McNuggets, Fries, Coke, and two new sauces: Sweet Chilli and Cajun. The limited-edition meal had food fans and ARMY around the world flocking for a Maccies meal and much like their music, BTS once again made history. The sales of McNuggets jumped up by a whopping 250% in Korea, restaurant visits in the U.S went up by 12% over the first seven days of release which overtook the popularity of the Travis Scott meal last year, which increased traffic by 9%. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, McDonald’s sold about 3.5million pieces of chicken nuggets on the launch day of the BTS Meal, which is an estimated 1,000% increase from the chain’s daily average in the region. The BTS impact is *chef kiss*.
‘Permission To Dance’ Offers Hope During Difficult Times
Shortly behind ‘Butter’ and in conjunction of the single album’s release, ‘Permission To Dance’ served as a b-side which also got the music video treatment and became their third full-English song. The song sings about how, in a world where we need to have permission and restrictions to keep us safe, we always have the permission to dance, and the music video shows hope for life after the pandemic and that the blessed day will arrive soon. The choreography received so much praise from the deaf and hard of hearing community for including sign language within the steps, and the inclusion of disabled people in the music video helped many ARMY feel seen. The song overtook BTS’s previous top spot for ‘Butter’ on the Billboard Hot 100, making them the first artist who had self-replaced themselves since 2018. It became their fifth No. 1 on the chart in 10 months and two weeks, making them artists with the fastest accumulation of five No. 1 singles since Michael Jackson in 1988. The song also won the Melon Popularity Award as well as several show wins on Korean Music Programs.
Following the praise of their cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ by the band themselves, ARMY dreamt of a Coldtan collab, so when frontman Chris Martin was spotted in Seoul, South Korea back in the spring, the fandom lost every since of the word “chill.” The rumors were flying everywhere and sure enough, our prayers to the purple Gods were answered in the form of ‘My Universe.’ The song served as a single from Coldplay’s latest album Music of the Spheres and features lyrics in both English and Korean. The collab debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming BTS’s sixth US chart-topper, and the first track by two co-billed lead groups to top the chart, also earning Coldplay their second No. 1 since 2008’s ‘Viva La Vida’ and the first song by a British group to debut at No 1. in United States history. ‘My Universe’ also claimed the biggest week of downloads for 2021 at the time in the UK, and won “Best Collaboration” at the Melon Music Awards, “Best Collaboration Video” at the MTV VMAs Japan, and “International Collaboration of the Year” at the NRJ Music Awards. The two bands also performed the song together at the MTV VMAs and Chris joined them on stage at the final show of Permission To Dance On Stage LA. Phew, we love legends working together!
Becoming Presidential Envoys And Returning To The United Nations
In September, South Korean President Moon Jae-In appointed BTS as “special presidential envoy for future generations and culture,” and each member was presented with diplomatic passports and fountain pens. As part of their first official duties as special envoys, the Bangtan Boys accompanied President Moon to the United States, attending the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York for the second meeting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Moment) which aims to reinforce the global community’s efforts to resolve global challenges such as hunger, poverty, and climate issues. This was the third time they were invited to speak at the UN, the first being in 2018 with RM as the spokesperson, and the second being through a virtual conference last year amidst the pandemic. This time all seven members took to the podium to speak, with over 1 million people tuning in online to witness the boys’ speech about climate change, digital community and vaccines, as well as the power of youth to change the future. They also gave a special performance of ‘Permission To Dance’ that was shot on the grounds of the United Nations. We are so proud!
Permission To Dance On Stage
After the storm came hope. Two years since last performing for ARMY, BTS were able to meet with them face to face at four sold out nights of Permission To Dance On Stage in Sofi Stadium, Los Angeles, but not before putting on one last online concert for international fans who couldn’t make the in person show, and also streaming the final night. Unsurprisingly, the boys managed to break records once more with the four shows achieving the biggest single venue concert engagement by any act in almost a decade. The shows sold 214,000 tickets and grossed $33.3million, marking the biggest box office draw at a single venue since 2012, and since 2003 in the US. We are manifesting a DVD/movie release of the show for next year!
A Second GRAMMY Nomination
Just like we predicted, BTS and their GRAMMY journey isn’t over yet! They have been nominated for their second award for the Pop Duo/Group Performance for their successful single ‘Butter.’ In addition to being nominated, the boys also presented the nominees for Alternative Music Album. We are so excited to see what the outcome and whether or not they will be delivering another star studded performance!
Awards And Accolades
Once again BTS has earned a number of awards and accolades over the past year and we are so proud! There’s so many to list that you could probably release an annual book about them. At the American Music Awards, they became the first Asian group to win Artist of the Year, while also scooping Favorite Pop Duo or Group, and Favorite Pop Song. Over at the MAMAs, they had nine awards under their belts, including the four Daesang awards: Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Worldwide Icon of the year. Other wins include Song of the Year and U+IdolLove Popularity Award for Male Group at the Asia Artist Awards, Top Selling Song, Top Social Artist, Top Duo/Group and Top Song Sales Artist at the Billboard Music Awards, Music Video of 2021 and Song of 2021 at E! People’s Choice Awards, Album of the Year, Best Album, Best Digital Song, and Most Popular Artist at the Golden Disc Awards, Best K-POP, Group of the Year and Song of Summer at the MTV VMAs, four awards at the MTV EMAs, and five awards at the Melon Music Awards. Phew!
This year the septet also achieved more than 20 Guinness World Records, including Most Weeks for a K-POP Group on the Billboard Hot 100, Most Weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Digital Singles Chart, Most Streamed Act on Spotify (group), Most Views For The Premiere of a Music Video on YouTube, and Best-selling Album in South Korea. They have also made a number of lists this year such as Forbes’s Korea Power Celebrity, Esquire’s 10 Best Pop Bands of All Time, and Billboard’s Greatest Pop Star By Year: 1981-2020. They were also inducted into Gold House’s A100 Hall of Fame back in May. Actual living legends!
Those are just some of the many highlights of BTS this year – trust us, we could have easily had more if time was on our side!
What was your BTS highlight this year? What are you hoping for in the world of Bangtan in 2022? Let us know down in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!
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Creative Director of The Honey POP. Disney and pop culture enthusiast.