Honestly, BTS is amazing, but people in this transcript seem to think that BTS is unmatched.
I hope fans can remember that they don’t know everything about every music in the world and probably not even every significant artist active in Korea. Stay open to the exciting discoveries of your future!
BTS had the K-pop industry behind them, and that brought them to Korea’s and the world’s attention. There was an entire method of reaching the public that could be tapped into, even for a group from a small, no-hit company like BigHit was in 2013. BTS and BigHit capitalized on, improved on, and leveraged the system for introducing and promoting K-pop artists. But without that system, they’d be at most a group no one has ever heard. No amount of BigHit’s (former) outsider status changes the fact that BTS was able to access stages that K-pop rookies share with established artists, like SBS’s Inkigayo and MBC’s Music Core.
“Are there opinions expressed that are potentially the result of misinformation? If yes, what?”
What are these opinions based on? Casual consumption of BTS-related, K-pop-related content written primarily by non-experts, mostly in English (or maybe Korean) as well as some content in the fan’s native language if that isn’t English. Some of the content may have been written by Koreans, but I’ve read a lot of content by Koreans and non-Koreans that is based on cashing in on the BTS phenomenon (either in terms of click-through to a website or sales of books) and explicitly tries to avoid angering fans (so it is catering to fans rather than prioritizing a more complex and ultimately more accurate narrative). I see the most in-depth conversations happening in Korean (at a level of Korean most international fans can’t participate in) and in academic circles that research popular music in the Korean and the non-Korean contexts. Most fans (except aca-fans like myself and most of the participants in the R3 journal) are missing out on those conversations, even though they could learn a lot.
When I read online conversations on K-pop and in this conversation as well, I see evidence of confirmation bias and cherry picking, where a single sentence by some “authority” said in the midst of a whole conversation or interview becomes “evidence.” Fans curate little snippets of evidence and present them to other fans who don’t do the work to uncover the many other snippets that contradict or at least weaken the presented argument. I understand that there is so much BTS content it is almost impossible to sift through all of it, but still, I wish people weren’t so easily swayed by cherry picking that reinforces the opinion they already have. The huge production of discourse from and about BTS over the past seven years makes many variations in interpretation possible (including interpreting BTS as BTS-pop and not K-pop), and ultimately that’s part of the fun of supporting a group as prolific and productive as BTS. But fans should be more wary of absolutism. I see some influential accounts (often completely anonymous) advocating strongly for certain interpretations and trying to cement official narratives, which they do partially through creation of block lists that can silence more nuanced discourse. We should always be willing to have our ideas challenged — it only makes us stronger and more knowledgeable.