Home News The BTS followers investing of their favorite Okay-pop band

The BTS followers investing of their favorite Okay-pop band


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I wish to present my coronary heart by proudly owning a share in BTS, says Rei

Rei is a former instructor and a 44-year-old stay-at-home mom. She’s an enormous fan of BTS, the seven member boy band that has develop into the face of Okay-pop. She has travelled abroad to see them in live performance. And he or she is even a member of ARMY, the official BTS fan membership.

She can also be one in all many followers who plan to take a monetary stake in BTS, when the group’s company Large Hit Leisure formally goes public on 15 October. It will simply be one share, and it is much less about investing than for a way of belonging and feeling nearer to the band.

“Positively I’m not promoting as soon as I get one. That is for eternity. I wish to present my coronary heart by having that one inventory,” she says.

When Large Hit makes its debut on Korea’s inventory change, it will likely be one of many nation’s most anticipated Preliminary Public Choices (IPOs) of the yr. Each buyers and followers will likely be chasing a chunk of Okay-Pop’s hottest and most worthwhile group. And it’s a uncommon instance of pop fandom turning into participatory capitalism.

‘You’ll be able to share each second’

BTS are usually not the one Okay-Pop band with precision choreography, slick movies and a seemingly inexhaustible provide of pop earworms. However they’ve a uncommon knack for connecting with followers.

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Kim Younger-mi

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Prof Kim Younger-mi portray BTS: “Disco is my technology,” she says

Whereas some may dismiss the fresh-faced boy band because the stuff of teenage ladies, their older followers beg to vary. Kim Younger-mi is a 59-year-old professor who teaches portray, and even commits an occasional BTS scene to canvas. She loves their latest single Dynamite, an upbeat, disco-laced observe.

“Oh how a lot I loved Dynamite. The disco! Disco is my technology! BTS is a magician bringing time backwards and forwards,” she says. She wish to purchase shares too, however is just not positive she will afford it.

Above all, she loves their willingness to have interaction with followers: “BTS endlessly talk with their followers at each nook of this world, small tiny quotidian particulars of their each day life, their artistic course of, their achievements. You’ll be able to share each second with them.”

This capability to attach could be their best asset, says Prof Suk-Younger Kim, director of the Centre for Efficiency Research at UCLA, and writer of a ebook on Okay-Pop: “Okay-Pop idols are superb at making their followers really feel like they know you.

“Extra broad fan suggestions is straight away mirrored upon their efficiency, ranging from style decisions to what they are saying on stage. So in a manner they take heed to followers, they replicate it of their efficiency, and there is that thrill of this change.”

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BTS followers at a live performance in New York. The group have a sizeable US fan base

For followers who’re already this emotionally invested, maybe the considered investing monetarily would not look like an enormous leap.

Does it translate?

Korean buyers would be the first to have the ability to purchase into Large Hit. However US followers have an interest too. And given BTS’s present reputation, it isn’t exhausting to see why. Topping the US charts is a uncommon feat for any group that principally would not sing in English. Solely 20 predominantly non-English tracks have ever cracked the highest ten in its 60-year historical past.

Three of them are BTS tracks, and now they’ve lastly had a primary single (though it was sung in English). US followers have responded in droves to BTS’s infectious, danceable pop – and to their willingness to have interaction severely about points affecting their followers.

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BTS are a world Okay-pop phenomenon, and their document firm is valued at over $4bn

“BTS at all times emphasizes the significance of kindness and compassion and speak about lots of the similar experiences, fears, and desires that all of us expertise sooner or later in our life. This brings so many followers, like myself, a way of consolation and belonging,” says Michelle Gutierrez, a 26 year-old graduate scholar from Texas, who’s hoping to speculate when shares turns into obtainable within the US.

Primary debut?

Large Hit’s itemizing has seen eager curiosity from buyers. About 20% of its shares have been supplied to buyers, elevating $822m – and valuing the corporate at over $4bn. Large Hit’s chief government Bang Si-hyuk, who owns 43% of the corporate, is about to develop into an prompt billionaire.

The seven BTS members will obtain 68,385 shares every, making all of them very rich, though they already make numerous cash. Based on Forbes, they earned $50m final yr, with their highway present grossing $170m.

However by some measures, their contribution to South Korea’s economic system far greater. One latest research by the tourism ministry and a authorities tourism institute calculated that their single Dynamite would generate a staggering $2.4bn in financial exercise and practically 8,000 new jobs – coming not simply from direct gross sales however from gross sales of cosmetics in addition to meals and drinks.

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It has been estimated that BTS’s single Dynamite generated $2.4bn for the South Korean economic system

The enchantment for buyers is easy: BTS are a world pop music juggernaut, and so they’re more likely to ship returns. Dynamite was so in style that it was the primary ever video to clock up 100 million YouTube views inside 24 hours. Album gross sales are robust, even within the age of digital streaming. Dwell reveals promote out in minutes, and BTS have amassed an enormous variety of model partnerships, starting from vehicles to cosmetics.

It is uncommon, nonetheless, that followers have a possibility to purchase into a selected musical act. David Bowie issued “Bowie Bonds” in 1997, which gave buyers a minimize of the royalties from his catalogue. However even then, they had been snapped up for $55m by Prudential Monetary somewhat than being supplied to odd followers.

Extra usually, buyers purchase into companies proudly owning the publishing rights to a steady of musicians. Within the case of Large Hit, 88% of its revenues got here from BTS within the first half of this yr. So buyers and followers alike see an funding in a single as an funding within the different.

That is given some followers pause. At 23, Tina Lamoreux is a veteran of Okay-Pop fandom. She’s listened since 2012, earlier than BTS had even shaped and when followers in her dwelling state of Oklahoma “had been often outcasts or thought-about bizarre”. Regardless that Okay-Pop is now vastly in style, she worries that the typically fickle nature of fame may make for a dangerous funding.

“Particularly within the music business artists can lose fame and get ‘cancelled’ so simply that I’d really feel it might be a threat,” she says.

Others disagree. MIRAE Asset Daewoo analyst Park Jeong-yeob says the group has proven endurance within the US market.

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BTS band members will quickly be accountable for navy service, however many followers say that will not have an effect on their assist for the group

“In contrast to previous situations the place Korean songs had been propelled to success by short-term buzz, BTS’s achievement relies on the long-term growth of a world fan base.”

True ARMYs

However this additionally poses a dilemma, as a result of there’s some doubt about the way forward for BTS. By regulation, all able-bodied Korean males aged between 18 and 28 should serve within the nation’s navy for 20 months.

All seven members will likely be required to enroll inside the subsequent few years. Discovering a option to cut up up their navy service won’t be useful both.

“BTS is just not BTS if it loses one. Seven ought to stay intact collectively,” Rei says, who nonetheless thinks BTS shouldn’t be exempt.

However Prof Suk-Younger Kim says the IPO may assist Large Hit diversify its portfolio. And actually, during the last 18 months the corporate has purchased two different labels. Some followers, although, suppose {that a} transient hiatus will not dampen enthusiasm for BTS anyway.

“True ARMYs like me will always remember BTS simply because they do not present for couple years,” says Rei.