The day of May 21st was a crazy one, particularly in the music industry. This is because musical powerhouses BTS, the Jonas Brothers, and rising pop genius Olivia Rodrigo all released music on the same day. One might think that the similar timing would negatively affect the artists, specifically BTS, but with stunning runs and enticing dance moves, their new hit single "Butter" was a smashing success.
To those who haven't heard of BTS before: I'm astonished. Seriously, I hate to resort to clichés, but have you been living under a rock? BTS is a K-pop band that has quite simply dominated the music industry against all odds. They are somewhat of an underdog story, as they began at a small company called BigHit Entertainment.
After releasing their first music in 2013, it took a couple years in the Korean music scene before they began to appeal to global audiences. They broke into the American music scene in 2017, when they attended the BBMAs and were the first K-pop group to win Top Social Artist.
Since then, they have continued to skyrocket in fame and achieve amazing success, allowing them to speak at the UN multiple times in favor of the #ENDviolence campaign as well as performing at the Grammys in 2020 and 2021, among other accomplishments. As BTS continues to smash the glass ceiling and look for new challenges, they open the door for other aspiring Asian artists and actively inspire us all.
For people who are merely casual listeners, BTS's song "Dynamite" might be the one you recognize. Released in 2020, it was their first all English song, and broke quite a few records, as well as being nominated for a Grammy. Hopefully "Butter" will follow in its footsteps, though only time will tell for award shows like the Grammys.
The song itself, while also fully in English, strays from the 70's vibes that "Dynamite" created and focuses on a more modern and funky tone. Admittedly, the lyrics aren't as deep as their Korean counterparts, however they are notably more complex than in "Dynamite" with references to the board game Trouble: "Don't pop like Trouble" or Usher's song "U Got It Bad": "Don't need no Usher / To remind me you got it bad". All in all, the song is a catchy one and made for summer, and I'd recommend listening to it when you get a chance.
As for its record-breaking, "Butter" has seen incredible success, notably with YouTube records. BTS has a long history of breaking the record for the Most Views For A Music Video In 24 Hours, as can be seen with the music video for "Dynamite", setting the record with 101.1 million views as of 2020. This record, however, was surpassed with "Butter" as fans of BTS streamed the video to 108.2 million views within a day of its release.
A second YouTube record was also broken: the biggest premiere in YouTube history. Similar to the other, "Dynamite" held the previous record, and "Butter" broke it by nearly 1 million concurrent views, totaling 3.9 million views.
Why does this matter? you may ask. Well, as someone who likes BTS and their music, it's nice to see them succeed and be rewarded for their hard work, just as any fan is proud of their respective idol or star. However, to me, BTS stands for more than just a band, as they are fighting for something larger than themselves.
Every award they earn or record they break is not just an impressive note to add to their long list of achievements. It's also proof that people from other countries with other languages can and should find success in the music industry. It's a long and hard fought battle, but in the end, I'm rooting for BTS to win.