K-pop BTS’s online concert attracts global fans

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BTS fans heard an online concert by a K-pop boyband on Saturday, carrying their distinctive light sticks and sharing messages in the chat room.

Titled “Map of The Soul ON: E,” the hypothetical event came after the seven-member group scrapped their initial plan to hold a personal show for a limited audience, in line with the South Korean government’s tight restrictions on social distancing. The band had already canceled their planned world tours.

It was the band’s last success dynamite, Her first single entirely in English, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart last month.

Vocalist V, or Kim Tae-Hyung, told the fans, “You are not here but I feel like you are here as if I can hear your chants, and next time let’s be really together.”

Since its inception in 2013, BTS has driven the global K-pop craze with engaging and upbeat music, dances, song lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering youth.

The band claimed the Guinness World Records title for most viewers for performing live broadcast after their first paid online concert in June attracted nearly 757,000 from 107 countries.

Its management company, Bit Hit Entertainment, has not announced how many people have watched the latest show, even though it garnered about 114 million “delightful clicks” in real time, a sign of approval that fans can click multiple times.

As the band performed, a back wall of small screens showed thousands of fans joining from all over the world, many waving light sticks known as “army bombs”. A chat room opened to allow fans to post comments simultaneously.

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In Seoul, a small group gathered at a BTS-style cafe run by fans to watch the concert together, despite wearing masks and turning away from each other.

“Their songs have given comfort in these difficult times and have made me a fan,” said Ahn Ji-won, 40, after bursting into tears while watching the show.

“They sing to say everything will be fine and to be encouraged, and I think that’s why they love all fans around the world.”

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