South Korean boy band BTS recently held a two-day online streaming event called BANG BANG CON on their YouTube channel BANGTANTV, where fans were able to relive the band’s previous concerts while staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

It drew in more than 50 million viewers worldwide.

 


soompi.com

It’s evident that BTS continues to dominate the music scene. However, their journey to the top was no easy feat.

 

In fact, one of the most noteworthy aspects of the K-pop group is how they came from humble beginnings, and how they became record-breakers with a staggering amount of love and support from fans across the globe.

 

BTS is also known for making the most of social media to connect with fans even from the start—hence their rise to success is well-documented. Scroll down below to learn some notable moments in the journey of Jin, RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jimin, V and Jungkook!

 

From rookies to superstars



Photo from Instagram (bts.bighitofficial)

 

The seven-member group BTS debuted on June 13, 2013, releasing a single titled No More Dream, with no idea of the future ahead of them.

 

Back then, it was already no secret that the K-pop industry is ultra-competitive, ruled by the “big three” labels: SM, YG and JYP Entertainment. BTS’s label, Big Hit Entertainment, was nowhere in the scene back then. 

 


Photo from BTS Official Facebook

 

Being a group since 2010, the members all lived together and had thrown all their efforts into perfecting their performances, as well as in co-writing and producing their output. 

 

Originally a hip hop group, the septet eventually explored various musical styles.

 


Photo from habkorea.net

 

In an SBS 8 News coverage, RM, the leader of the group, said, “In the beginning, when we had debuted, we used to practice 12 to 15 hours a day.”

Photo from Koreaboo

 

“I’ve seen them go through the entire thing,” said K-pop star Eric Nam, who shared an insider’s perspective on BTS’ journey on the audio-video podcast Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig in 2019. “When they started, they were these underdogs in the industry and I know they were having a very difficult time. ‘Cause Korea, K-Pop, is so competitive. You have hundreds of groups debut every year. Maybe one percent is going to stay around for a few years.”

 


Photo from BTS Official Facebook

 

Thanks to their perseverance and passion for what they do, they’ve mastered their choreographies down to the most minute details, which allowed them to put on fantastic shows for fans.

 

“They stole the show,” Eric continued as he talked about seeing them live on the podcast. “Because their choreography and their charisma and the way they do things, people are like, ‘Is that magic? What is going on?’ From there, it was this organic growth of people, international fans, saying these kids are so underappreciated, but they’re so good.”

 

BTS eventually received recognition, being dubbed the biggest boyband in the world. Their 11th studio album is titled Map of the Soul: 7, the best-selling album in South Korea.

Photo from Instagram (bts.bighitofficial)

 

As of writing, they have over 25 million followers on Twitter. On YouTube, their videos are guaranteed to have millions of hits, with their video DNA alone having a whopping 900 million views and counting.

 


Photo from soompi.com

In April 2020, Big Hit also reported its accumulation of over 500 million dollars in revenue from 2019, largely fueled in part by the millions of sales from BTS’ albums.



From handing out flyers to selling out concerts

 

The success of BTS didn’t happen overnight. They have long been working hard to gain the love and support of their fans. We can clearly see it in American Hustle Life, a 2014 reality show of BTS when they went to the US in order to know more about hip hop culture. The show’s final mission included handing out flyers on Hollywood Boulevard, inviting strangers to their concert—for free!

 


Photo from Koreaboo

 

An old tweet of BTS from 2014 also made rounds last year. According to koreaboo.com, the group was struggling to fill their venue so they gave away 200 free seats in hopes that more people can come.

 


Photo from Twitter (bts_twt)



Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine such a scenario, since booking a BTS ticket has become quite a tough race. In fact, it took BTS 90 minutes to sell out tickets to perform at the popular Wembley Stadium in the UK in March last year, with approximately 90,000 fans supporting the group for their concert.

 


Photo from standard.co.uk

 

From watching fireworks outside Rose Bowl in 2014 to lighting it up in 2019

 

In 2014, there’s also a clip of BTS admiring from afar the fireworks at the Rose Bowl Stadium. The grand and iconic stadium has a 90,888 seating capacity.


Screencap from Twitter (Jin_butterfly)

 

In 2019, BTS began the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour at the very stadium in Pasadena, California. The photo below were the fireworks display after BTS performed a sold out show in the venue.


Photo from Twitter (hawaii)

 

From missing slots in music shows to being in-demand guests

 

As BTS reacted to their debut days at the music show Inkigayo, Jimin recalls, “We couldn’t get on a lot of shows. If a show was full, we couldn’t get a slot.” The members also talked about how a rare opportunity it was to get interviewed.

 


Photo from m.kpopherald.com

 

ARMYs are thankful that BTS kept going as a group despite their tough circumstances. Now, the people of the press continue to line up to have an interview of the famous boy band. Being a huge hit in America, they’ve been on huge television talk shows such as The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.



Photo from popcrush.com



From standing behind award shows to becoming award-winners

 

The online community also pointed out how they used to find ways to be seen in photo ops as they used to stand at the back during award ceremonies.

 

 

Photo from mnews.joins.com

 

Nowadays, the group is noticeable wherever they go, especially at award shows. One of their most notable moments was at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) when they bagged both Artist And Album Of The Year.

 

During their moving speeches, the group found themselves crying. The last to speak was Jin, who disclosed: “ARMY, I’m thinking about early this year. Early this year, we were having a really hard time mentally. So we talked together and worried about whether we should disband or not. But I’m so relieved that we found our resolve again and now we’re able to have these great results..I’m so grateful to our members who found that resolve again, and I want to say thank you to my loving members and ARMY. Thank you.”

 

Even in 2020, BTS continues to break records and win awards.



Photo from soompi.com



From a small room to a luxurious suite

 

As mentioned earlier, the seven members all live together, and to be even more precise—in the early days, the boys were all cramped into one bedroom! According to BBC’s Newsround, it’s the eldest, Jin, who apparently does all the cooking.

 


Photo from Twitter (@relijoon)

 

It was until the end of 2016 when they decided to split into four rooms.

 

cheatsheet.com stated that it was around November 17, 2017 when the A-list celebrities moved to The “Hannam The Hill” apartment complex, which is considered as one of the most expensive ones in Seoul.

 


Photo from Koreaboo

 

What didn’t change


Photo from Koreaboo.com

 

In spite of all the changes, some things stay the same. The boy band choose to stay together as a team, their hard work apparent from their debut days until their latest performances.


allkpop.com

 

Their music continues to resonate with countless fans, called ARMYs, worldwide. The honesty and advocacies in their lyrics remain.

 

In September 2018, the boy band stood before the United Nations General Assembly. In his speech, RM encouraged people to speak their true selves, which mirrors the message of self-love in their songs.

 


Photo from seventeen.com

 

Big Hit Entertainment founder and co-CEO Bang Si-hyuk is aware of the impact of BTS’ music as he tells TIME magazine: “Ever since BTS’ debut, they’ve never suddenly switched gears or changed pace. They were consistent. I think that convinced the public. They don’t shy away from speaking about the pain felt by today’s generation. They respect diversity and justice, the rights of youths and marginalized people. I think all of these factors worked in their favor.”