BTS diehards are railing against Spotify for allegedly undercounting total streams on the K-pop sensation’s “Butter” track.
BTS released “Butter” – their second English-language single – five days back, and at the time of this piece’s publishing, the three-minute-long track had officially garnered north of 220 million YouTube views and nearly 75 million Spotify streams.
Moreover, the song broke both platforms’ existing records for streams generated in the 24 hours after debuting, with 20.9 million such plays on Spotify and 113 million plays on YouTube, besides securing five world records thus far.
But the considerable fan interest that made these achievements possible – like the unprecedented support that propelled BTS’s initial English-language work, “Dynamite,” to the top of the charts in August of 2020 – looked to derive largely from a coordinated effort carried out by ultra-dedicated ARMY members.
To be sure, Spotify and YouTube also cracked down on the stream total of “Dynamite” last year – even though repeat plays, as opposed to bots, appeared to be behind the song’s immense commercial success.
Expanding upon the latter point, more than a few BTS superfans have taken to social media (and to the comments section of the “Butter” YouTube video) to encourage one another to continue playing the group’s latest song on repeat (including via “streaming party” happenings), with the overarching goal of helping it to reach other commercial milestones yet.
“LETS BREAK A RECORD TO 300M ARMYS! WE CAN DO THIS! STREAM BUTTER AT YOUTUBE APPLE MUSIC ANS [sic] SPOTIFY JOIN BTS PLAYLIST PARTY ASWELL!” one such individual exclaimed on Twitter.
“ARMYS I’M LITERALLY REALLY JUST SO PROUD OF ALL OF US PLEASE UWU THE WAY ARMYS LET’S CONTINUE SHAZAMING AND STREAMING BUTTER ON SPOTIFY, YOUTUBE AND APPLE MUSIC PLEASE,” another super-enthusiastic fan tweeted in part, responding to “Butter” streaming figures.
However, as initially mentioned, a multitude of fans are now criticizing Spotify for allegedly excluding certain streams from the “Butter” play total – and, in turn, impacting the song’s position on the Spotify charts.
Spotify – which has long utilized a (non-publicly disclosed) formula for omitting some repeat or inauthentic streams from the weekly charts that it releases each Monday – positioned “Butter” at the top of its “Top 10 Global Song Debuts” for the weekend of May 21st – 23rd.
That said, the BTS single placed eighth on the streaming service’s “Top 10 USA Song Debuts” for the same period, behind seven tracks from Olivia Rodrigo, who released her debut album, Sour, on the 21st. Furthermore, Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” beat “Butter” for the number-one spot on Spotify’s Global Top 200 daily chart yesterday, 12.59 million streams to 7.92 million streams.
“@Spotify we would like you to address the issues being raised explicitly. Its not just any other day. Butter literally broke the record for the highest debut on spotify charts. We demand answers. #InvestigateSpotify,” many have written (copying and pasting the identical message) on Twitter.
Other social-media users have published a bar graph that purportedly shows the comparatively substantial portion of “Butter” streams that Spotify has filtered.
“No one can tell me 20.9M unfiltered streams getting filtered to 11M makes sense — especially with us knowing how to stream properly and most of us following the rules. There is something going on here since it’s not a secret the industry can’t handle BTS disrupting their ‘peace,’” penned another BTS supporter.
Spotify doesn’t appear to have directly addressed the matter – or, more pressingly, the numerous calls for comment – on social media or in a release, save for a brief response to a “paying customer” (whose profile picture is of the “Butter” single art) wishing to see precisely “how much you’ve filtered out.”
BTS label Big Hit Music (a division of Hybe) is looking for a pop producer, while the seven-piece boy band and Hybe are facing a copyright infringement lawsuit over I-Land.