BTS fans adapt to new Billboard charting rules set to deter mass album buying

BTS fans adapt to new Billboard charting rules set to deter mass album buying
BTS topped Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks with 'Butter' (@bts_bighit/Twitter)

With K-pop fans and ARMY (BTS' fandom) especially being monster voters and streamers, the Western music industry has often been vocal about being threatened when it comes to charts. In fact, many industry experts, Billboard included, have point-blank asked if BTS and their fandoms have been cheating or manipulating the charts to always stay on top. A lot of Western YouTubers, industry experts and reporters have claimed that despite BTS charting at #1 for weeks on Billboard, it doesn't transfer onto their popularity in the US.

ARMY were furious when experts claimed that when BTS is at #1 on Billboard Hot 100 Chart, the artist at #2 is the one who is really at the top, invalidating BTS’ fans and commercial success. And so with Billboard setting new rules to chart, many think that it is to deter the mass buying that leads to acts charting in opposition to those who would organically sweep charts thanks to the backing of the general public. But while the Western music industry feels that they have finally won against BTS, ARMY have proved that they are indeed the majority of the general public who do not need to resort to mass buying as they are enough in numbers to help a song chart.

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BTS have always topped Billboard with their new releases (@bts_bighit/Twitter)

Billboard's new charting rules

Billboard claims to have introduced a new set of rules to prioritize and promote digital streaming over mass buying albums. As of 2022, for the chart Hot 100, one digital sale by one customer per week for a song or album will count for Billboard's tracking. Mass streaming and digital purchase of a song or album, two or more times will not count. This will not affect the criterion of physical album sales that also count to Billboard’s tracking for other charts. But with Billboard now focusing on streams rather than physical albums, Business Insider has claimed that Spotify only pays an artist $0.003 to $0.0084 per stream.


ARMY flex their purchasing power

Singer Devin Jay put the statistics in much blunter terms by revealing that for his song which had 25k streams, he only got $27. He and ARMY both came to the conclusion that the Western industry was trying to deter fans from mass buying physical albums. But since ARMY don’t actually resort to unfair means to help BTS chart, this new rule hasn’t affected them. In fact, to prove their point, they decided to help Devin Jay. Many ARMY became his fans as they started digitally purchasing and streaming his songs which have increased his Spotify and Apple Music streams.


ARMY have always had BTS' backs (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

BTS’ 2021 English single ‘Butter’ was such a smashing success in USA that it was at #1 on Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks. The global K-pop group have constantly swept Billboard with their releases as ‘Permission to Dance’ replaced ‘Butter’ at #1 on Hot 100 while their collaboration with Coldplay, ‘My Universe’ also made it to the #1 spot on the chart. BTS is the group or band with the most #1 debuts on the chart. They are even in the same league as The Beatles, as they follow the British band for having the shortest time to get six #1s on the chart.

In 2021, we had the most egregious controversy, as a Billboard interviewer asked BTS if their fans were involved in chart manipulation. While leader RM found the question unfair, many reporters claimed that it was not fair to the Western artists who were genuinely popular in the US but couldn't see the outcome of it on the charts thanks to BTS. But Forbes and Korea Herald hit back by saying that they were just bitter that BTS had beat the artists at their own game. They also unearthed evidence that even Western artists and their fandoms like Harry Styles and Ariana Grande have resorted to promotional tactics to get their releases to #1.


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