What Really Makes BTS’ ‘Love Yourself 轉 Tear’ a Success? 100,000 Traditional Album Sales

Streaming doesn’t pay, right?  Not if it comes with millions of plays — and tons of traditional album sales.  Which is exactly what’s happening on BTS’ Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’.

BTS has been crushing records for years, and raising the bar for Kpop in the process.  Their latest album, Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’, recently bowed atop the Billboard 200.  It’s the greatest musical achievement for South Korea and Kpop since ‘Gangnam Style’.

Even South Korea’s president himself, Moon Jae-In, has taken time out of his busy schedule to congratulate the boys on their achievement in a public letter on his Twitter account.  The Korean leader is obviously juggling a lot these days, though BTS is now one of the country’s biggest exports.

But from the industry and revenue-earning perspective, there’s a much bigger story here.  And it has everything to do with how BTS fans are interacting with this group.

A quick look at the numbers shows the real success story —beyond the flashy chart-topping headlines.  BTS’ top-charting bow was powered in the U.S. by 135,000 equivalent albums, with 100,000 of those sales being traditional album sales.

This smashes the group’s previous record for the album Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’.  That release scored 31,000 units in its first week, with 18,000 of those being traditional album sales.

Those physical ratios are unheard of for most acts.  But for BTS they’re becoming standard, thanks to an A.R.M.Y. fanbase that buys a ton of stuff.

Of course, pound-for-pound, formats like vinyl records and CDs absolutely eclipse the revenue generated by streams.   Even downloads, which offer a mega-multiple over streaming revenues, are outdone by physical sales.  But so far, American and European acts have done little to maximize physical sales, at least outside of niche vinyl records.

Asian acts, primarily those from Japan and South Korea, are killing it in this category.  And, ensuring far better revenues than their Western pop counterparts.

Instead of eschewing streaming, however, this model embraces it.  And that goes for YouTube, where BTS is busy setting records as well.  Since its’ release, ‘Fake Love’, which is the lead single for Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’, has done extremely well, setting a few records itself.  That includes the highest amount of views in 24 hours for a Kpop video, and the third-highest view count in 24 hours for any music video, genre notwithstanding.

Looks like Bangtan Syndrome is in full force, and it’s generating huge revenues from a potent mix of digital and traditional formats.



13 Responses

  1. #HappyNamJune

    Wow, a GOOD article about BTS! I know it’s because that Paul person didn’t make it, but it’s still a breath of fresh air.

    • M

      Yes they put on a great show, but can they really sing? If they can great if not there ripping off the American music system. Have them sing unplugged, acapella.

      • Anonymous

        ripping off the American music system…you mean participating in capitalism?

        • Idiot

          Hmmm… I think this person is Paul, making a comment.

      • Does your leg hurt if you cut it off?

        Personally (and the opinion of many others), yes, I do think they can sing. Look it up if their popularity bothers you/makes you curious.

      • anon

        You mean that EVERY AMERICAN SINGER sings live and perfectly live?? ARE YOU SURE??
        Yes bts can sing live. but people follow bts because they are true artists. like GD, like ZICO and a few more. and i dont believe that just “lipsync and dancing” makes you an artist automatically

      • Evelyn

        Yes, they really were singing. If you listen carefully, you can’t see one of the rappers stops mid sentence, to show there was no play back. Also, if you listen to the original song, the. The live performance, you can definitely hear the difference in how they sing. You can also hear them breath deeply into the mic while singing.

      • Anonymous

        I can contend that they can sing live. Search up ALL of BTS MR Removed Live performances at music shows or even view their concert live performances. Singing and dancing is a struggle but the members of BTS trained specifically to be able to do it since their debut.

  2. BTS Ajumma

    Could Madonna sing at the height of her fame?? I think not…but to answer your question…yes they can sing and rap and dance – due to talent and years of training. Are they the best singers, dancers, and rappers? Probably not, but as a group they have a unique synergy, stage presence, work ethic and a love for their fandom that I have never seen in all my 51 years on this planet. Too much analysis on why they are so popular. Either enjoy or ignore. Simple.