Bangtan Boys, Bulletproof Boy Scouts, Beyond the Scene, and now, maybe Bigger Than Samsung could be the next new interpretation for the acronym BTS, the mega-star K-pop phenomenon that’s taken the Korean economy and the world by storm.
The seven-man sensation accounts for $4.65 billion of South Korea’s GDP, landing it among Korea’s top-grossing companies Samsung, Hyundai, and Kia. And that’s just one data point in a staggering pile of data points filled with as many zeros as there are members of the band, according to a new story in the Hollywood Reporter.
The trade mag’s profile of BTS is chock-full of jaw-dropping stats. Here are a few, for starters:
- BTS scored three No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart in less than a year. They are the first band to do so since The Beatles.
- In its first six months of release, the EP Map of the Soul: Persona sold 3.5 million copies around the world, 562,000 of which were in the U.S. alone.
- In April, the video for “Boy With Luv” broke a YouTube record when it sailed past 100 million views in less than 48 hours, and BTS became the first Asian band to surpass 5 billion streams on Spotify.
- BTS’s merch sales have reached $130 million. That’s a lot of books, T-shirts, dolls, cosmetics, and jewelry.
- A Korean study estimates that 83% of BTS’s fans are female, and 45% are between the ages of 10 and 30.
Meanwhile, the band comes in at number 43 on Forbes’s Celebrity 100 list with earnings of $57 million in pretax income over the last year. Most of the revenue came from its larger-than-life Love Yourself World Tour, supporting the album trilogy of the same name. Billboard Boxscore reported that the first six stadium dates in the U.S. made $44 million and sold nearly 300,000 tickets for an average of $7 million per show.
BTS racks up more than 11 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and on YouTube, fans are currently watching and rewatching band member J-Hope’s latest video with Becky G, the fiendishly catchy “Chicken Noodle Soup,” which, so far, has collected 52 million views in just five days. The multilingual song sparked an international dance craze thanks to a TikTok video. Only a few hours after the video was posted, it has 2.3 million views and nearly five thousand “challenge accepted” fan videos.
Neither BTS nor the individual members have a manager or any other representation. They are wholly owned by South Korean music mogul Bang Si-Hyuk’s Big Hit Entertainment factory. Bang himself has an estimated net worth of $770 million, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.
How long will BTS keep printing money? Band member Suga told THR, “As long as our bodies hold up, we’ll be doing the same thing in 10 years.”