BTS is a Korean idol group, so in that respect they perfectly fit into this surface definition of K-pop.
Meanwhile, because the term K-pop has not been conceived naturally from the inside but named from the outside perspective, it intrinsically adds socio-cultural implications/prejudice in the course of development. Mostly negative, on many occasions.
So, what are the outside perspectives — mainly Western-centered views — that are implicated in the term K-pop? First, it is a culture that is all about looks and visuals. Plastic surgery, skin care, and stage makeup are basic, and male idols usually wear what some perceive as adndrogynous outfits.
Second, it [K-pop] is the product of excessive consumer capitalism. The facts behind this include:
- They [music agencies] include different photo cards in the album to get fans to buy multiple copies of the same album to collect the photo cards. In effect, some fans buy hundreds of albums to win the fan signing event and this is accepted as a kind of fan culture.
- They make fans buy the light-sticks to feel the sense of belonging.
- They release countless kinds of merchandise, photo books and DVDs on a seasonal basis. Can’t deny this either, because BigHit follows all these idol music industry marketing practices.
Third, they are not artists but nothing more than “scarecrows” who don’t make their own music but sing and dance to the music made by the agency. They don’t have autonomous rights. This impression comes from the preconception about the trainee system where the potential artists are picked up at an early age and are bound by “slave contracts.” It is partially true that slave contracts existed in the early stage of K-pop and still exist in some villain [unethical] agencies. But since the standardization of contracts was enforced by law, this kind of slave contract is not allowed anymore. More importantly, many idols these days make their own music, especially BTS. BTS lyrics/narratives of the album are coming from their own personal growth. Messages flow organically through one album to the next album.