The members of BTS are no strangers to record feats, but even they and their loyal ARMY may have been overwhelmed by the number of ways they made history when they debuted their new song ” Life Goes On ”at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Korean pop septet recorded his third consecutive first number on the Hot 100 in just three months, following Grammy-nominated disco-pop smash “Dynamite” and a remix of Jawsh685 and “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat”) by Jason Derulo). Although it receives virtually no radio broadcasts, “Life Goes On” still tops the singles charts largely due to its robust sales. The track sold 129,000 digital downloads and 20,000 physical copies derived from the limited edition cassette and vinyl singles, per Billboard. This is the second biggest digital sales week of 2020 behind BTS’s own ‘Dynamite’, which soared to the top of the rankings with 265,000 downloads in week one.
“Life Goes On” marks the first song performed primarily in Korean to surpass the Hot 100 in the 62-year history of the chart, and the first non-English song in any language to debut at the top of the chart. The accompanying album of the song, BE, also bows to the top of the Billboard 200 this week, making BTS the second artist in history behind Taylor Swift to debut simultaneously at the top of the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 (Swift did so earlier this year with Folklore and his single “Cardigan”.) The rest of BEBTS tracks also sold very well, making BTS the first act in U.S. history to take the top six spots in the digital song sales chart.
BTS are now in a league of their own as the only group in history to debut multiple songs at No. 1 on the Hot 100. With the stratospheric launch of “Life Goes On,” they are also joining Ariana Grande as that only collect three # 1 successes in 2020.
The superstar boy group also landed three No.1 hits faster than any group since the Bee Gees in 1978, which tripled to the top of the charts with Saturday night fever Singles “How Deep Is Your Love”, “Stayin ‘Alive” and “Night Fever” over a period of two months and three weeks. The last group to mark its first Three No.1 singles faster than BTS were The Beatles in 1964, climbing to the top of the Hot 100 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” in two months and three days.
Oh, and just to add the icing on the cake, “Dynamite” is bouncing back at No.3 on the Hot 100 this week, making BTS the first group to hold two spots in the Hot 100 Top 5 since the Black Eyed Peas in 2009. with “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling”.
Each achievement on this non-exhaustive list is remarkable in itself, but the real wonder of “Life Goes On” is this: a largely Korean-language song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with virtually no radio broadcasts, no remix and no bundles. The song’s stratospheric debut offers impeccable proof of BTS’s popularity and the dedication of their fans. Together, they toppled a Western music industry whose archaic practices are often rooted in racism and xenophobia and redefined what a Korean pop act can accomplish on the American charts.
The success of “Life Goes On” is also a delightful rebuke to those who tried to deny the success of BTS’s debut No. 1 hit, “Dynamite.” Some naysayers have argued that “Dynamite” only passed the Hot 100 because it came with a slew of remixes. “Life goes on” did not have one. Then they argued that BTS was only able to score a No.1 hit without giving up their native Korean and performing a song entirely in English. “Life Goes On” contains mostly Korean lyrics. Some have even argued that “Dynamite” ‘s strong radio presence belittled her chart-topping debut (an incredible and bizarre argument, given that radio has always counted in a song’s Hot 100 chart) . “Life Goes On” topped the Hot 100 with a paltry 410,000 radio impressions in the first week (vs. 11.6 million from “Dynamite”), with just one station reporting double-digit spins, for example. Billboard.
And, so that anyone won’t forget, “Life Goes On” came with none of the merchandise bundles that were part of many Hot 100 singles up. Billboard updated its product and ticket rules last month.
With “Life Goes On,” BTS once again proved themselves to be a commercial heavyweight in the United States and the rest of the world. Top of the charts became the new normal for the septet, and with the help of their huge fan base, they rewrote the playbook of an alien act making forays into the Billboard graphics. As BTS continues to grow its audience and shatter commercial expectations, their latest landmark achievement probably won’t be reproduced anytime soon – at least not before they release more music.