Why BTS’s performance at the AMAs is so important
A new era in the music industry has begun and it is one of diversity, integration and change.
The 2017 American Music Awards was definitely a brilliant awards show with various artists winning well deserved awards, great speeches being made, and, of course, iconic, historical performances. The name that was on everyone’s minds and mouths during the awards show was “BTS,” a global K-Pop sensation group who were invited to perform at the AMAs. Whether you are an ARMY, like myself, or not, there is no doubt that BTS’s performance at the American Music Awards, and their consequent takeover of the American media for the last few weeks are going to have a historical, powerful effect on the music industry for years to come. And, it is something that is definitely needed.
Before BTS even performed at the AMAs, they were already labelled as global sensations, legends and being one of the top/best boy groups in the world. They have one of the largest followings for a boy group and have also been smashing various records for the last few years with 2017 being one of their most successful years to date. Their fandom (or family), known as ARMY, is considered one of the most powerful and active in the world as well, with Guinness World Records announcing that BTS has broken the record for most social media engagements. The AMAs announcement and the endless number of interviews and talkshows that BTS have been invited to, signified that history was in the making. In fact, BTS’s time in the USA, so far, is historical and important for ARMYs, society and the music industry.
For an ARMY, these last few weeks have been tremendously busy and exciting since BTS has been on various interviews, talkshows and finally, the AMAs. ARMYs, commentators and supporters of BTS are all excited to watch BTS’s continuous success because it allows them to spread their message of loving others and loving ourselves, which is exceptionally important in a world where so much hate and oppression continue to take place everyday. Recently, ARMYs trended #BTSisNotYourAverageBoyBand where ARMYs could express how BTS has impacted their lives, and it was not surprising to see how much BTS, their music, and who they are as people, has helped so many when they are/were going through so much. The AMAs provided another platform to introduce BTS to people who did not know them. It gave the West another chance to become fans of a group and a movement of love, hope and healing. There is no doubt that BTS’s family of ARMYs will grow and with that, more people will have stories to tell about BTS helping them through difficult times.
For the music industry and on a societal level, as a whole, this achievement for BTS is a historical and important one because they are playing a role, whether they realise it or not, in diversifying the current state of the music industry. At the moment, the global music industry is still predominantly English based, and by English, I mean the American music industry dominates the majority of the global music industry. It has been extremely problematic because it is assumed that “Western music”, that being English, American music, is the norm that must be followed in order to be successful in the music industry. BTS, on the other hand, completely opposes this “norm”. BTS creates their own image, their own norm and their own “lane” in the music industry, especially in the global music industry, and this will influence and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. In addition to this, BTS’s messages in their songs, which mostly deal with societal issues and challenges facing young people, are vital to have in a music industry that often tends to forget or disregard these personal, moral and social struggles.
Despite the massive impact and influence that BTS is making and will continue to make, there have already been critics and individuals who have requested that BTS makes more songs in English. However, in response to this, fans and supporters of BTS have reiterated the importance of BTS singing in their home language and the language that they are comfortable and happy to sing in. It is more personal and powerful if artists sing and write in the language that they are most comfortable with since language is one of the defining parts of a person’s identity. BTS’s decision is an encouraging one for others who would prefer to sing in their own language and it is BTS’s integrity that is truly making them more loved, admired and adored by many of us. They are staying true to themselves and as a result, their fans and the people they influence are doing the same.
The American Music Awards was an iconic moment for everyone and history was definitely made on the AMAs’ stage this year. BTS will continue to make history, will continue to break records, will continue to rise and make a difference around the world. While they continue connecting with people of all different races, religions, genders, ages, sexual orientations and backgrounds, the growing ARMY family will be behind them, supporting them all the way . Together, an unbreakable force of change will be making not only the music industry a more inclusive, diverse and integrated space but so will our society change for the better too.
BTS is currently nominated for Best Male Group, Best Dance, Best Music Video, Song of the Year and Album of the Year for the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMAs). You can vote for them here.