Fans of Korean pop music haven’t had much to sing about in recent months, but at least popular boy-band BTS have given K-Pop fans something to smile about. The beginning of 2017 has been a disaster for K-Pop fans as two of the genre’s most popular girl bands decided to call it a day. Both the Wonder Girls, and 2NE1. shocked fans by announcing that, for them at least it was all over. To the despair of their fans, both groups have now gone their separate ways, leaving a hole so big that Billboard claimed that 2017 would be “a pivotal year” for the K-Pop genre.
The irony is that popular K-Pop outfits like BTS, or Bangtan Boys as they are also known, are really gaining in popularity in the mainstream U.S. music market. Band splits have therefore come at a bad time.
Korean pop music is perhaps unique. The Korean government sees K-Pop as means of spreading Korean culture worldwide. Bands like BTS are “manufactured” by huge media organizations. Hundreds of young Koreans audition for roles, those who are successful are taken from their homes and schooled for their roles in bands like BTS. Music is written for them, and they receive in-depth training on every aspect of their career. Training of the members of bands like BTS and 2NE1 can cost millions of dollars.
The K-Pop industry is sometimes criticized because young stars are signed on very strict contracts, usually for a term of seven years. Once those contracts expire they are very rarely renewed, leaving popular bands like BTS with nowhere to go. This means that the K-Pop scene could be set to lose other popular acts like Girl’s Day, ZE:A, and Teen Top, who are all coming to the end of their contracts.
Back in September 2016 BTS thrilled K-Pop fans when the released the trailer for their second album Wings. The album was a worldwide hit, sold over one million copies and charted at No 26 on the Billboard 200 Chart. The seven members of BTS have been enjoying a break between legs of their world tour, but now they are back and K-Pop fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
K-Pop Fans Teased With BTS Comeback Trailer For ‘Not Today’
Earlier this week BTS released an extended version of their Wings album. The extended version of the album is known as Wings: You’ll Never Walk Alone, and it contains four additional tracks. The re-release is timed to coincide with BTS’s return to touring. BTS hit the comeback trail this weekend with performances in Seoul, South Korea. The tour then moves to South America before BTS arrive in the U.S. for a short run of dates, commencing March 23.
If you are a fan of BTS and hoped to catch one of their shows, it seems like you are already too late. Hello K-Pop reports that every ticket for the U.S. leg of the BTS Wings tour has been sold.
Sadly, most U.S. based BTS fans will have to satisfy themselves with YouTube videos of the BTS boys. Incredibly the video for BTS’s single “Spring Day” has chalked up over 21 million views in a matter of days. A 30-second teaser trailer for “Not Today” has been viewed over four million times in a few days.
As noted by K-Pop Starz, the two songs seem to be very different in nature. Where “Spring Day” was gentle, mellow and slow paced, BTS seem to be channeling their inner synth rock star with “Not Today,” which is a much more upbeat dance rock number. BTS fans won’t have long to wait to see the full video for “Not Today,” it is due for release on February 20th.
BTS fans and fans of K-Pop in general will be glad to see BTS back on the road and releasing music at a furious pace. The K-Pop genre needs BTS.
Are you a BTS fan? If so, you have doubtless already listened to the audio version of both recent BTS releases. Let us know which you prefer “Spring Day” or “Not Today.”
[Featured Image by Kin Cheung/AP Photo]