Do BTS have the greatest success story of all time?

  • This question is big I know but I can’t help but wonder if it’s true. I won’t pretend to know all of the stories behind the rise of every musician that has come and gone but we are currently living through the rise of BTS and let me say it is astounding when you think about it. BTS started out in a country whose music industry is ridiculously cut-throat and fierce. With hundreds and hundreds of kpop groups popping up over the years, competition is extremely tough so it is nearly impossible to make your lasting mark in the Korean music scene especially when you come from a small sized company that doesn’t have much impact compared to the giants. BTS however managed not only get noticed and differentiate themselves in the sea of kpop groups, but thrive in the industry. And they did so in a way that a group of their “lowly” status hasn’t ever done before. Despite the system’s design to weed out those outside of the hierarchy, BTS were able to first survive then grow and now conquer. But it didn’t stop there.


    Korea is a relatively big music market but when it comes to global recognition it typically misses its mark. With hundreds of boy and girl groups coming out of Korea, none have been a mainstay in global music and therefore kpop has remained niche despite efforts otherwise. This was an agreed-upon truth prior to 2016. Even Armys at the time never imagined anything more beyond the few daesangs BTS managed to score. BTS continued to grow in their own country but miraculously in the west as well. A kpop group from a small company who should have been thrown into obscurity like their other unfortunate kpop peers somehow managed to gain traction and popularity in the world’s #1 music market. This was the rise no one expected. Their success is even stranger considering that this was a POC group who suffered from many negative stereotypes stemming from several aspects (Asian race, xenophobia, boy-band stigma, kpop industry hatred, fan-girl shaming, etc etc). Not to mention the western music industry’s pure reluctance to accept something so strange and foreign to them; the “assimilation” process for BTS and Army when it comes to the rise in the US was incredibly grueling and upsetting to say the least. On top of ALL of that their own country’s music industry tried to bring them down on numerous occasions alongside greater parts of the kpop community who furthered these efforts mercilessly. They are THE group who shouldn’t have made it considering all that was against them and all they had to face.


    Now BTS are leading artists in the world’s top 3 music markets with no signs of slowing down. They are playing head to head with some of the biggest global superstars of this era which is nothing short of incredible. Logically and realistically, they shouldn’t be as big as they are today. But they did it despite the ridiculous odds of it all. This is why I think their story is one of the greatest if not the greatest of all time. Let me know what you think about this question and if its true for you. If there is an artist that made it globally that had even more odds up against them I would love to know!


    Edit: Forgot to mention a huge factor: they did this all while speaking in their native language

  • You could compare the rise of the Beatles to the same trajectory as BTS. The Beatles had no connections and no money. They were turned down by record companies who had zero faith in their abilities. The guy who eventually signed them to a contract, George Martin, produced comedy records and had never produced an album for a musical group.

  • You could compare the rise of the Beatles to the same trajectory as BTS. The Beatles had no connections and no money. They were turned down by record companies who had zero faith in their abilities. The guy who eventually signed them to a contract, George Martin, produced comedy records and had never produced an album for a musical group.

    yeah thats true! I really am not familiar with their story. Its great to see someone who doesn't have much rise to such an extent. of course they are not POC and spoke English so the journey was easier for them but still impressive nonetheless :borahae:

  • oh wow what a great thread. I actually agree.

    It was one of things i wondered about for the longest time when i first discovered BTS. How seemingly a group that had the most going against them is now arguably the biggest act in the world.

    Many artists have rags to riches story but the nature of adversity bts faced and faces even now seems rather unique imo and makes their story exceptional.

  • oh wow what a great thread. I actually agree.

    It was one of things i wondered about for the longest time when i first discovered BTS. How seemingly a group that had the most going against them is now arguably the biggest act in the world.

    Many artists have rags to riches story but the nature of adversity bts faced and faces even now seems rather unique imo and makes their story exceptional.

    this was my point exactly. Rags to riches stories are incredible to hear about and are usually those that are rooted for, but when you witness one that had such a grueling and oppressive climb it changes your perspective. BTS's story is completely unique because of this and it makes me wonder if there is another like it!

  • Anyone who went from rags to riches, from unknown to global icon, through their music had a great success story. Now as for the greatest? It's debatable. When it comes to BTS, I think Armys tend to overplay the odds they had to overcome in order to make it. As if just being a white guy was a highway to success. Don't forget that privileged white guys have to compete with all the other privileged white guys so ultimately things balance themselves out. Plus, BTS had the power of social media to spread; tools that didn't exist, or barely, 10 years before.

    So all in all, each case is different. You can't compare artists from the 60's and artists from the 2010's; the changes the music industry and the media went through are too massive to compare.

  • i think many people might have not experienced exactly how difficult bts' rise to fame went & have just seen their succes the last ~4 years, so i think many could disagree.

    i don't think we should focus too much on the hardships & horrible things they went through on their way to the top (except if hybe ever decides to make a good netflix documentary.. @HYBE ??) because it's clear that they are at a good place mentally right now, but it's fascinating how many people think they just had luck and ended where they are now.


    there are many incredible stories of people starting at the literal bottom, as bangtan in their near bancrupt company, and who are now iconic figures in history e.a. the beatles. comparing who had a bigger story seems pretty useless to me, but I'm 100% sure bts, with a select few huge people, belong in this category.

  • i think many people might have not experienced exactly how difficult bts' rise to fame went & have just seen their succes the last ~4 years, so i think many could disagree.

    i don't think we should focus too much on the hardships & horrible things they went through on their way to the top (except if hybe ever decides to make a good netflix documentary.. @HYBE ??) because it's clear that they are at a good place mentally right now, but it's fascinating how many people think they just had luck and ended where they are now.


    there are many incredible stories of people starting at the literal bottom, as bangtan in their near bancrupt company, and who are now iconic figures in history e.a. the beatles. comparing who had a bigger story seems pretty useless to me, but I'm 100% sure bts, with a select few huge people, belong in this category.

    I definitely find that more and more people think BTS's success was sudden and abrupt. Its strange but I agree, we cant expect people who didn't live their story to know it. that's part of the reason im interested in this topic. not many people nowadays know just how hard it was and how mindblowing it is to see them at this point despite everything that happened. But yes ultimately BTS are in a good place now and Armys are very grateful for it!

  • Don't forget that privileged white guys have to compete with all the other privileged white guys so ultimately things balance themselves out.

    No offense but I strongly disagree with this. The chances of a POC artist becoming mainstream compared to a white artist is way lower. Especially if their music isn't in English. The logic that a multitude of white privilege is equal to the challenges a POC artist would face is weird to me. If I had to compare it to a scenario I'd put it like this: say that there is a fussy toddler who had a plate of fries with three pieces of broccoli on the side ( I know it sounds weird but just wait a minute). There are way more fries compared to broccoli but because the child is fussy and biased, each of those fries will still be chosen before the 3 pieces of broccoli. Now swap the toddler with the music industry, the fries with white artists and broccoli with POC and this is basically what happens. This was a weird comparison but I hope it made bit of sense.

  • I'm not sure about the ALL time part because I'm not knowledgeable about all the other time period and other musicians backstory.

    But as far as recent time and among well-known story then their story is definitely one of the top and could rival the top spot.

  • Of all time? Hell to the effin no.


    In kpop though? I mean they are the biggest, most relevant, most successful, etc etc entertainers Korea has ever produces. Now that is a fact no one can deny. If they do, then they must be on crack.

    Vachirawit “Bright” Chivaaree can get it every day all day all week every month all year for a lifetime.

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  • No offense but I strongly disagree with this. The chances of a POC artist becoming mainstream compared to a white artist is way lower. Especially if their music isn't in English. The logic that a multitude of white privilege is equal to the challenges a POC artist would face is weird to me. If I had to compare it to a scenario I'd put it like this: say that there is a fussy toddler who had a plate of fries with three pieces of broccoli on the side ( I know it sounds weird but just wait a minute). There are way more fries compared to broccoli but because the child is fussy and biased, each of those fries will still be chosen before the 3 pieces of broccoli. Now swap the toddler with the music industry, the fries with white artists and broccoli with POC and this is basically what happens. This was a weird comparison but I hope it made bit of sense.

    Ok I get the comparison. But is it the moment I'm supposed to believe that Koreans, and Asians in general perhaps, are the most vilified, hated and frowned upon community in the world? Because in terms of successful POC artists, the Black Americans covered a lot of ground already: Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye... Original rappers like Dr Dre and Tupac pioneered a genre out of empoverished suburbs and made it one of the most popular in the world. There's also Bob Marley, hailing from nugu Jamaica, who pioneered a genre and brought it to a global audience... There's no shortage of successful POC artists.

    Now if we're talking about Asian/non English speaking artists, then well of course, BTS are the first to reach that level. I'm not sure this fact alone is enough to warrant the label of greatest success story of all time though. And tbh, I don't see why it is so important.

  • Anyone who went from rags to riches, from unknown to global icon, through their music had a great success story. Now as for the greatest? It's debatable. When it comes to BTS, I think Armys tend to overplay the odds they had to overcome in order to make it. As if just being a white guy was a highway to success. Don't forget that privileged white guys have to compete with all the other privileged white guys so ultimately things balance themselves out. Plus, BTS had the power of social media to spread; tools that didn't exist, or barely, 10 years before.

    So all in all, each case is different. You can't compare artists from the 60's and artists from the 2010's; the changes the music industry and the media went through are too massive to compare.

    This is honestly a terrible take. No, it doesn't "even out" and that's literally why there are pretty much no mainstream Asian artists in the US and by extension globally.


    And to insinuate that anyone is overstating the odds against bts when people such as yourself are constantly understating it? Bts' career was nearly ended by vips and exols back then. Not to mention. The racism the STILL face in the west from celebs and stans alike. Please read the room

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  • Ok I get the comparison. But is it the moment I'm supposed to believe that Koreans, and Asians in general perhaps, are the most vilified, hated and frowned upon community in the world? Because in terms of successful POC artists, the Black Americans covered a lot of ground already: Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye... Original rappers like Dr Dre and Tupac pioneered a genre out of empoverished suburbs and made it one of the most popular in the world. There's also Bob Marley, hailing from nugu Jamaica, who pioneered a genre and brought it to a global audience... There's no shortage of successful POC artists.

    Now if we're talking about Asian/non English speaking artists, then well of course, BTS are the first to reach that level. I'm not sure this fact alone is enough to warrant the label of greatest success story of all time though. And tbh, I don't see why it is so important.

    This is not where I was going with this. I'm black myself but this thread isn't talking about the most vilified POC group at all so please don't spin it that way. For me, this is about the odds against someone. When it comes to global music, you rarely see an non-white artist on top or anyone who speaks another language that isn't English. So with that in mind, Hispanic and Asian artists would have the most trouble becoming mainstream. But because the biggest market in the world is the US where Spanish is prominently spoken, you would assume that then artists of any Asian descent would have the most difficult time with recognition/popularity. This is more of what I'm speaking on when I say ridiculous odds. Add in being a boyband and from the notorious kpop industry, it makes it hard to see someone else who had such bad luck.

  • A white man saying it doesn't matter that Asian artists reached a global milestone for Asian POC in this thread has to be the most expected yet absurd thing I have read today

  • This is honestly a terrible take. No, it doesn't "even out" and that's literally why there are pretty much no mainstream Asian artists in the US and by extension globally.


    And to insinuate that anyone is overstating the odds against bts when people such as yourself are constantly understating it? Bts' career was nearly ended by vips and exols back then. Not to mention. The racism the STILL face in the west from celebs and stans alike. Please read the room

    I still clearly remember those days and it was heartbreaking ;(

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  • honestly beyonce. read her story

    Beyonce's story is a good one. The original group called Girls Tyme had to go through many changes to get their first record deal as Destiny's Child. But though they had struggles (losing in Star Search, cutting members, dropped first record deal), I think their struggles were more reflective of just how hard the music industry is to make it through. Like how kpop traniees train for years and years and may still get cut at the last minute. So the hustle is real but the obstacles faced are the typical ones of the cut-throat nature of making it big in music. Does that me sense? I love Bey and her story but ultimately it was just hard hard work that brought her to where she is but it made sense she prevailed. With BTS it doesnt make sense because of the factors that naturally played against them.

  • Not of all time. I can argue for Michael Jackson. To rise above all odds during times where racism was such a big issue, and become the biggest act of all time, he is the top of the top.


    But I think if we take recent times into consideration , then BTS success story deserves to be mentioned. Especially when they are the first Asian act(by nationality) to make their mark on this world. No matter what antis say BTS now belongs to global music history

  • A white man saying it doesn't matter that Asian artists reached a global milestone for Asian POC in this thread has to be the most expected yet absurd thing I have read today


    It’s making me cringe real bad. It just makes you realize many kpop fans themselves have racist tendencies towards Asians without realizing it. They simply love individual artists, and that’s it. They won’t understand the struggle nor do they really care to. No one was even saying Asians are the most discriminated against yet it turned to a competition on which race has faced the most discrimination. Point is Asians are discriminated against, by all races. Asians are barely considered Americans by blacks and whites in America even if we’re citizens.

    Vachirawit “Bright” Chivaaree can get it every day all day all week every month all year for a lifetime.

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  • For musicians in recent history, pbly. Going further back, I think the Beatles would be my pick. If not limited to musicians but still in the music industry, maybe Berry Gordy.

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    Edited once, last by MissBehave ().

  • All time? Can't we just say one of the greats? It very obviously is a compelling piece of history that deserves to be recognized as one of the great success stories in the music industry, but adding superlatives adds a nuance that it doesn't need. It stands up pretty well without it.

  • Strictly among kpop groups, their narrative is absolutely amazing beating everyone when they come from a small company (though I would say some groups come from even smaller companies with even less help). Rn I'm on the Brave Girls bandwagon, with their incredible success after failing quite bad in the past lol.


    win 1000 akorns

  • of the 21st century in music? YES

    Omg, the way you said 21st century. Twenty years and that still sounds weird as hell

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  • the answer is yes undoubtedly yes when it comes to this industry. there were so many circumstances that had to go right for their formation, it was a miracle they did. so many doubted them and they fucking pulled through and are now world renowned, no one is doing what they do. what they've accomplished is a miracle in the sense that they really beat the odds, but their artistry is unmatched and only them + armys are the reason for their success. we have their backs just like they have ours. they are the ultimate underdogs in the best way and i could not be prouder.



    as per usual passive aggressive haters will end up pissing and shitting themselves in here as this thread gets more replies because they hate BTS deep down. so ugly and pathetic.

    meet me at MlDNIGHT...taylor swift//october 21st

    Edited once, last by FeLiNa ().

  • I'm not sure about the ALL time part because I'm not knowledgeable about all the other time period and other musicians backstory.

    But as far as recent time and among well-known story then their story is definitely one of the top and could rival the top spot.

    My exact thoughts!


    I am no music history buff but I am sure it was a huge struggle for a lot of black artists to rise to fame back in the day especially... and as for artists I follow, I think Eminem's story is crazy. The language barrier BTS had to get passed puts their story somewhere towards the top for sure though.

  • the answer is yes undoubtedly yes. there were so many circumstances that had to go right for their formation, it was a miracle they did. so many doubted them and they fucking pulled through and are now world renowned, no one is doing what they do. what they've accomplished is a miracle in the sense that they really beat the odds, but their artistry is unmatched and only them + armys are the reason for their success. we have their backs just like they have ours. they are the ultimate underdogs in the best way and i could not be prouder.



    as per usual passive aggressive haters pissing and shitting themselves in here because they hate BTS deep down. so ugly and pathetic.

    I don't think people are being hateful in here. I think it's possible to disagree on "the greatest success story OF ALL TIME" without being a hater. I think Berry Gordy who was a high school drop out, failed boxer and Black man before the Civil Rights movement when white music executives actively and openly discriminated against black talent starting a record company out of his garage with a few hundred dollar loan from family and building it into an empire that housed some of the greatest talent ever and literally changed the face of music in the 1960s that still resonates today 60 years later is a very strong candidate. Berry Gordy built Motown and his acts and the sound they generated can be felt in kpop today.

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  • I don't think people are being hateful in here. I think it's possible to disagree on "the greatest success story OF ALL TIME" without being a hater. I think Berry Gordy who was a high school drop out, failed boxer and Black man before the Civil Rights movement when white music executives actively and openly discriminated against black talent starting a record company out of his garage with a few hundred dollar loan from family and building it into an empire that housed some of the greatest talent ever and literally changed the face of music in the 1960s that still resonates today 60 years later is a very strong candidate. Berry Gordy built Motown and his acts and the sound they generated can be felt in kpop today.


    ah, lemme edit my post at the very end. tysm :borahae:

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  • Of all time? It's really hard to say. There are many artists that I don't know their backstories to, so can't say that in good faith. But in kpop? Hell Yes.


    This essentially describes their rise perfectly.

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    They didn't immediately get that head start like Big 3 groups get in their first two years, it literally took four years until they turned the tides in their favor in 2017. Until then, even their mid-level hits like INU, Dope, Fire, BST, were still getting them the nugu label (then what of other bgs that haven't even seen those results...) So whenever I see antis basically ridicule them for the lack of a headstart and mock their digitals/sales to other BIG 3 groups that out of the gate already started having hit songs or sold hundreds of thousands of albums, it truly makes their success all the more impressive and worthwhile. Esp seeing them grow from Feb 26th, 2013 till now, I've seen just about everything that would normally break someone but so glad they rose above it and are now mentally at peace. But that's besides the point. All in all, we can only compare within kpop boundaries and to a certain extent boybands.

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