BTS enjoys dominance in the K-pop genre, and thanks to this dominance the band’s choice to take time off for individual projects is certain to make a stir in K-pop music consumption in the US. Big Hit Music, a part of HYBE that has been distributed in the United States by Universal Music Group’s Geffen Records since last year, will have a difficult time filling the void.
According to a Billboard analysis of Luminate data, BTS has accounted for 29.4% of all K-pop song sales and on-demand streams in the United States since the beginning of 2021. BTS did not release a new studio album at that time, but instead released two “best of” compilations: BTS, the Best in June 2021 and Proof on June 10, 2022. BTS also released remixes of “Butter” (including a collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion), “My Universe,” and “Permission to Dance.”
When including streaming and purchases of digital and traditional formats, BTS has sold 3.6 million album equivalent units since 2021 (until June 9).
With 795,000 album equivalent units, Tomorrow X Together, another Big Hit artist, came in second in overall consumption. TWICE and Stray Kids (both distributed by Republic Records in the United States) finished third and fourth, respectively, with 763,000 and 655,000 units sold from competing Korean music business JYP Entertainment. With 569,000 album equivalent sales, BLACKPINK from SM Entertainment (distributed by Interscope Records in the US) came in fifth.
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BTS has amassed 2.56 billion on-demand audio streams in the United States since 2021. BTS accounted for 27.7% of K-9.26 pop’s billion on-demand audio streaming in the United States during that time. With 548 million streams, TWICE was much behind.
In the near future, BTS is expected to have a lot of streaming success. Proof, the band’s anthology album, was released on June 10, and tracks can now be found on editorial and user-generated playlists, allowing them to continue their success on streaming platforms.
However, because sales activity is not as long-lasting as streaming, album and track sales are more reliant on new releases. Since 2021, BTS has sold 29.1% of K-pop physical albums and 72.3 percent of K-pop digital tracks. The band’s supporters, known as BTS ARMY, are responsible for the group’s sales dominance. BTS followers are known to coordinate digital purchases in order to affect the band’s chart performance, according to a study by Billboard in 2021. They have sold 3.1 million songs in the United States since January 1, 2021. Over the same time period, the other top-five K-pop acts each sold less than 100,000 albums.
In 2021, BTS sold more CD albums in the United States than any other artist, with 1.03 million copies sold, accounting for 2.5 percent of overall CD album sales in the United States across all genres. In 2021, the company’s total share of the US album sales market (CD, digital download, vinyl LPs, and other formats) was 1%.