No one can deny that the K-Pop Global sensation, BTS, has had a phenomenal 2017. They became the first ever K-Pop group to win a Billboard Music Award, as top social media artist. They also performed at the American Music Awards and have been on the charts breaking records left and right.
Though what is their secret to success and breaking boundaries, especially in a foreign market like in the United States? The boys along with their management label’s CEO, Bang Shi hyuk of Big Hit Entertainment appeared on KBS’s documentary series “Good Insight,” to reflect on their achievements as well as share insight to BTS’s success and even discuss the future of Korean pop music.
While most think that BTS’s success hails from their involvement on social media, Bang Shi hyuk explains the boys success is more of a result of having the right environment which includes having reasonable expectations, consistency and most importantly creative freedom.
He alluded to having reasonable expectations when he first met the boys. “When we first met the members [of BTS], the goal was not to be a global singer [sensation]” said Shi hyuk. He added, “the children had just arrived in Seoul and our company was not the mainstream, but we could make something meaningful with them I thought.” Shi hyuk does however have high expectations for the boys, but mainly when it come to consistency, in releasing high quality content and art. He says, “I think Idol is a package with looks, stage, music videos, and highly sophisticated music. There are a lot of singers who show great performances and great music, but there is no singer who keeps on showing them all. We are trying to keep showing high content continuously.” He adds, “When we get into recordings, the members stop all the schedules and concentrate on the practice time, which is [then] the official schedule.”
Shi hyuk also shared that the boys have the freedom to drive the direction of their music since their beginning. He said,”I did not regulate them, but I wanted them to be a group of good influences, I told them to make music that would let you hear your inner voice.” He adds, “Nowadays, the musician is the concept of the music, and tells everything about the future direction.” This creative license is clearly a far cry from what most typical K-Pops group experiences. However, that doesn’t mean that Shi hyuk and BTS always get it right. He explains, “the first record contained academic content. I was blamed for the school concept, but they were students at the time and it was a natural result.” Clearly, BTS puts their own voice in the music, which makes them stand out.
Bang Shi hyuk still acknowledges that success is not a science. He explains he has a lot of trial and error. He also says he worries about the direction of BTS as well as K-pop, in general.
KBS’s “Good Insight” is a news magazine series that is one part documentary and one part lecture hosted by a famous figure. The Bang Shi Hyuk and BTS episode first aired on February 23, 2018.
To watch Bang Shi Hyuk talk about BTS and the future of K-pop click here.