While BTS was not the first Korean group to make waves in the international sphere, they’ve certainly had unmatched influence since they rose to worldwide stardom. These are just 10 of the numerous accolades that BTS was the first Korean act to achieve.
1. Receive RIAA platinum album certification in the US
In January 2020, it was announced that Love Yourself: Answer sold 1 million units in the US, making it officially platinum certified by the RIAA. 1 unit is 1 album sale, 10 songs sold from 1 album, or 1,500 audio or video streams. The album was also the first by a Korean act to receive BPI certification (silver) in the UK.
2. Perform at the Grammys
BTS performed at the 62nd Grammy Awards with Lil Nas X and a variety of other artists. While they didn’t get to have their own stage, they still made history as the first Korean act to perform at the prestigious awards show. They were also the first Korean act to present at the ceremony back in 2019.
3. Have an album receive a Grammy nomination
When Love Yourself: Tear was nominated for Best Recording Package (along with packaging designer HuskyFox) at the 61st Grammy Awards, BTS became the first Korean act to receive Grammy recognition. ARMYs hope that next year the group will finally receive one of the ceremony’s major nominations.
4. Reach #1 on the Billboard 200 chart
In 2018, Love Yourself: Tear shot to a #1 debut on the Billboard 200 album chart, making them the first Korean group to achieve the feat. They went on to top it again with Love Yourself: Answer and Map of the Soul: Persona. BTS was also the first Korean act to reach #1 on the Billboard Artist 100 and chart multiple albums on the Billboard 200 in one year.
5. Surpass 5 billion Spotify streams
After the release of Map of the Soul: Persona, BTS surpassed a staggering 5 billion streams on Spotify. Just a few months earlier, they also became the first Korean act to reach 1 billion streams on Apple Music.
6. Perform a stadium show in the US
When BTS added a show at NYC’s Citi Field Stadium to their Love Yourself tour, they made history as the first Korean act to ever perform a US stadium show. Not only did the show sell out, BTS later went on to become the first group to sell out stadium shows in London and Paris on not one but two nights each.
7. #1 on UK albums chart
The UK charts are notoriously difficult for Korean acts to break into, but BTS managed to land a #1 on the UK album chart with Map of the Soul: Persona. They’re also the first Korean act to chart 10 songs on the UK charts.
8. Feature on the cover of “Time” magazine
Time magazine covers feature only the most esteemed of public figures—including the President and the Pope. In October 2018, BTS became the first Korean act to make it onto the cover for the issue about ‘Next Generation Leaders’.
9. Address the United Nations
Yet another prestigious accolade the group achieved in 2018 was addressing the United Nations, where BTS delivered a three-minute speech imploring young people to “speak yourself” and believe in their voices.
10. Appear on the Bloomberg 50 list
The annual Bloomberg 50 list highlights the most influential people in entertainment, business, technology and more. In 2018, BTS became the first Korean act to hit the list.