"I wanna big house, big cars and big rings, but sasil-eun I dun have any big dreams," sang K-Pop boyband Bangtan Boys popularly known as BTS in their debut song 'No More Dream' in 2013.
Seven years later, BTS is a global icon, and their dream is only getting bigger. K-Pop is a global sensation today. Big Bang were pioneers in expanding their reach of K-Pop outside of South Korea, but BTS really redefined the way the world perceived K-Pop.
And no, it's not just stans speaking, now there's a Harvard Business School paper backing it up.
Titled, "Big Hit Entertainment and Blockbuster Band BTS: K-Pop Goes Global," and authored by Anita Elberse and Lizzy Woodham, talks about the rise and rise of BTS to global standards.
The paper, which is available online, talks about how "since their debut in 2013, BTS had gained millions of devoted fans around the world who had proudly adopted the moniker ‘ARMY,’ while BTS’s band members— J-hope, Jimin, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, SUGA, and V—had become genuine superstars."
The paper notes that the band, who sing and rap mostly in Korean, inspire the kind of global cultural influence that has people often comparing them to The Beatles.
BTS was launched by BigHit Entertainment, which before BTS, didn't have a record of making superstars.
The paper also talks about how the K-pop industry was dominated by the ‘Big Three’: SM, YG, and JYP, all of which had a track record, established over multiple decades, of creating and launching successful idol acts. Big Three idols tended to dominate the charts.
However, it was BTS launched from a relatively smaller production house which set the international benchmark.
The paper goes into details of BigHit's financial records, and has inputs from Bang Si-Hyuk, aka Hitman Bang, proving why BTS is the global sensation it is.
The paper also notes the kind of impact BTS has had on South Korea's economy. Last year, BTS accounted for an estimated $4.65 billion of South Korea's GDP. The estimate is now at $4.9 billion which is more than the contribution of South Korea's national airline Korean Air.
One of the authors posted the news of the paper on Twitter.
Coming soon to my classroom at Harvard! Like and respond with hashtag #pickme if you’d like a chance to win a free copy of my new case on @BTS_BigHit and @BigHitEnt ! #bts #kpop #btsarmy pic.twitter.com/mCncQrOu9x
— Anita Elberse (@anitaelberse) June 25, 2020
. @BTS_twt contribution to SK’ GDP was $4.9 Billion which is more than SK national airline Korean Air [by harvard studies] and they have been helping SK’ economy during this pandemic [by kmedia]
in other words and in a more explained way : BTS paved the way
— BTS SNIPER⁷ bIm (@BTS_SNIPPER) June 26, 2020
kpop stans: "BTS didn't pave the way. Their "impact" isn't all that."
Harvard: "N e ways. BTS paved the way and here's why..."
— J ⁷ ⋈ #STAYGOLD (@Kookiecake4) June 26, 2020
And ARMY (BTS's fandom) was here for it. They finally had legitimate backing to the group they had decided to stan for seven years and had spent a considerate amount of time convincing others that this band really would reach new heights.
kpoppies: BTS didn't pave the way
Harvard: so BTS paved the way bc,,, pic.twitter.com/Avl8K9g8Xx
— ##⁷ maría ₃₀ (@lvjiin) June 26, 2020
For those who are worried about the Harvard Business case on BTS/BH, please don't be. It's really well done, and there's also a disclaimer that case studies are done with approval from the company. There's a lot of input from Bang & people at BH-very interesting read. Also just a
— Courtney Lazore⁷ (@writer_court) June 25, 2020
a whole fcking research??? about bts??? by HARVARD businesses school??? if this is not legendary then i don't know what it is pic.twitter.com/wGII3QZaGS
— KSJ-PD⁷ ⟭⟬ (slow) (@seokjinpdnim) June 26, 2020
The review is perhaps timely - it comes at a time when the Big 3's are expanding across the world, following BigHit's model. SM has NCT (Neo Culture Technology), which aims to be a 'global' brand, with a unit purely based in China, and other groups who are trying to expand their global footprint worldwide.
BTS was undermined when it first released, but the hard work and constantly continuing to make good music has perhaps finally paid off. BTS is getting the recognition it deserved, and not just from fans.
In BTS's own words, "You can't stop me loving myself."