BTS beats Taylor Swift’s sales record, outperforms other K-pop acts

Anna Gabrielle Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2021 02:55 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2021 02:57 PM


BTS emerged as a sales behemoth at a time when streaming services have nearly phased out music purchases in the United States.

RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook made history in the largest music market after "My Universe," the septet's collaborative single with Coldplay, scored its second frame on top of Billboard's Digital Song Sales chart.

The feat marks the Bangtan boys' 45th week leading the purchase-only ranking, setting a new all-time record for most frames at No. 1. The title was previously held by Taylor Swift, at 44 weeks.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, paid subscriptions and on-demand streaming services accounted for 83 percent of the industry's revenues in 2020, while digital downloads and physical sales merely logged 6 percent and 9 percent respectively.

Despite the dwindling digital consumption, however, the South Korean group has consistently been posting record-breaking figures in the US this year.

"Butter," which was the third top-selling download during the most recent tracking period, is one frame away from joining "Dynamite,” their 2020 disco-pop, as the longest-running No. 1 hit on the authoritative list.

Currently, "Butter," the crowned Song of the Summer and the first title to surpass 1 million purchases in 2021, ties with Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber's "Despacito,” as the second-longest No. 1 track (17 weeks) that ruled the purchase-only chart.

To date, no other artist other than the Bangtan boys has clinched two records that have spent more than 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Digital Song Sales ranking.

BTS is also the first act in the tally’s history to simultaneously occupy the top 2 tiers on six separate occasions ("Permission to Dance" with "Butter," as well as "My Universe" with "Butter.").

To date, BTS has landed 58 singles on the Digital Song Sales chart. Of the number, 27 arrived in the top 10, while 9 claimed the No. 1 spot.

Although naysayers attribute the singular achievements of BTS to the allegations of mass buying, the extensive influence of the group cannot be pinned solely on the music sales. 

BTS, for example, likewise flaunts massive streaming numbers— not just in the US but across the globe as well.

The latest Spotify data attest that seven-piece is the undisputed leader of K-pop, the driving force behind the Hallyu wave that has been taking over the world, after outperforming the top idols of 2021 by a massive margin.

BTS, named by the Guinness World Records as the most-streamed group of all-time on the platform, amassed an impressive 20.8 billion streams — an amount 8.71 billion hits higher than the combined sum of BLACKPINK (5.9 billion), TWICE (3.3 billion), Stray Kids (1.74 billion), and TOMORROW X TOGETHER (1.16 billion), the succeeding four most listened K-pop acts on the app.

Beginning January alone, BTS has earned 6.7 billion hits, a figure nearly double the combined total of the aforementioned K-pop titans.

BLACKPINK, the next leader, pulled 1.6 billion streams for 2021, a sum four times behind the septet's. TWICE followed with 1.1 billion plays, Stray Kids with 726 million, and TOMORROW X TOGETHER with 625 million.

Although BTS has yet to drop an album since "BE" in 2020 and had only released 3 singles this year, the total of their latest tracks, along with its remixes, closely rivals the 2021 count of the next most popular South Korean acts.

As of this writing, "Butter" has accumulated 605 million streams, while "Permission to Dance," has reached 283 million plays. Their collaborative piece with Coldplay, "My Universe," on the other hand, has hit 82 million listens.