With ‘Dynamite,’ BTS becomes 1st S. Korean artist to top Billboard Hot 100

September 1, 2020

BTS became the first South Korean artist to land at No. 1 on Billboard’s main singles chart in the United States on Monday.

“BTS achieves its first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, as ‘Dynamite’ debuts at the summit,” Billboard reported Monday, one day before its chart will be refreshed.

Previously, the highest-charting South Korean artist ever on the Hot 100 was soloist PSY with his 2012 viral hit “Gangnam Style,” which peaked at the No. 2 spot.

The only Asian to make it to the top of the Hot 100 in the past was Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto with “Sukiyaki” in 1963.

BTS has topped Billboard’s main album chart, the Billboard 200, four times since May 2018, starting with “Love Yourself: Tear and following up with successive releases — “Love Yourself: Answer,” “Map of the Soul: Persona” and “Map of the Soul: 7.”

This photo, captured from the social media of Billboard, shows BTS' "Dynamite" ranked No. 1 on Billboard's main singles chart Hot 100 in the United States on Aug. 31, 2020, a day after picking up four awards at the MTV Video Music Awards. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This photo provided by Big Hit Entertainment shows members of K-pop group BTS posing for photos during an online press conference to unveil the group's new single "Dynamite" in Seoul on Aug. 21, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This photo, released by Big Hit Entertainment via social media on Aug. 19, 2020, shows a teaser for global K-pop band BTS' new song "Dynamite." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This photo, released by Big Hit Entertainment on Aug. 21, 2020, shows a teaser for global K-pop band BTS' new song "Dynamite." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This photo, provided by Big Hit Entertainment on Aug. 31, 2020, shows K-pop band BTS posing for photos ahead of a recent shooting of a performance for "Dynamite" aired on the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This photo, captured from the social media of Billboard, shows BTS’ “Dynamite” ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s main singles chart Hot 100 in the United States on Aug. 31, 2020, a day after picking up four awards at the MTV Video Music Awards. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

But on the Hot 100, the septet had managed to go as high as fourth place with “ON,” the lead track from “7″ released in February. “Boy With Luv,” featuring American singer Halsey, peaked at No. 8 in April of 2019.

With 265,000 downloads sold (among its overall first-week total of 300,000, which includes its vinyl and cassette physical versions), “Dynamite” debuts with the biggest digital sales week since Sept. 16, 2017, when Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” launched with 353,000,” Billboard reported.

According to Billboard, only 43 songs in history have achieved the rare feat of debuting at No. 1 on the Hot 100.

BTS celebrated the victory through social media in South Korea, where it was early Tuesday when the news broke. It also happened to be the birthday of BTS singer Junggook.

“Congratulations on the Billboard No. 1 fellow members, I’m happy because of you guys,” BTS singer J-Hope wrote on the group’s official Twitter account.

J-Hope added, “And ARMY! You know that we love and thank you more than anyone. You deserve to be congratulated, too,” referring to the band’s global fans base referred to as ARMY.

Big Hit Entertainment, the band’s label-management agency, also issued official statements from the band in a press release.

“I still can’t believe it, as if I’m dreaming. We thank the composers who presented us with a great song. We believe all of our accomplishments are achieved together with ARMY,” group leader RM said.

The feat comes on the heels of BTS bagging four awards at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) — Best Pop, Best Group, Best Choregraphy and Best K-pop — on Sunday for “ON.”

With “ON,” BTS became the first Asian act to win Best Pop at the VMAs, out performing other nominated heavyweights, including the Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.

The global reaction to “Dynamite” could not have been bigger from the get-go, with the music video on YouTube attracting more than 3 million concurrent viewers at its premiere and garnering 101.1 million views in the first 24 hours, making the biggest music video debut on the platform to date.

On the streaming front, the band has also made history, becoming the first K-pop act to debut at No. 1 on Spotify’s Global Top 50 index. Not only did BTS become the first-ever K-pop artist to top Spotify’s main chart, but it also achieved the biggest Spotify song debut of the year so far.

The release of “Dynamite” happened almost serendipitously, with the song coming out amidst the group’s world tour and overseas publicity coming to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to BTS leader RM, neither the group nor its label-management agency Big Hit Entertainment initially had plans to put out “Dynamite” as a stand-alone digital single. But the track’s brimming, vibrant energy ended up enchanting the septet enough for it to be released.

Celebrities at home and abroad congratulated BTS for making history through social media.

PSY wrote on social media, “Finally, truly proud,” with a screenshot of the latest Hot 100 chart. Popera tenor Lim Hyung-joo also praised the boy band.

“The chart score card seems to be insufficient in proving their actual worth. Nonetheless, I’m so proud that I’m at a loss for words,” Lim said.

American soloist The Weeknd and pop rock band Jonas Brothers also heralded BTS for its landmark accomplishment. “Really cool. This is so big for Asian artists. Huge congratulations,” The Weeknd wrote.

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