BTS continues to pave the way not only for Korean artists, but the music industry in general. The septet has now marked its 5th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Doing so by not only playing the same game as western artists but upping the stakes and doing it better.
Sales for “Butter” in its fifth week reflect availability for its original and instrumental versions released May 21; a “Hotter” remix released May 28; “Cooler” and “Sweeter” remixes released June 4; and an “alternate single cover” digital single released June 24 in the group’s webstore (sparking the song’s top Sales Gainer award on the Hot 100 this week), all discounted to 69 cents throughout their availability.
“Butter” has spent its first five weeks on the Hot 100 at No. 1. Of the 54 titles that have launched at No. 1, “Butter” is just the 11th to spend at least its first five weeks on the chart at the summit. It’s the first to earn the honor since Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” logged its first eight frames on the Hot 100 in the pole position beginning in January. Only one song by a group has topped the Hot 100 for more weeks from its debut than “Butter”: Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day,” which spent its first 16 weeks on the chart at No. 1 in 1995-96, a record reign from a song’s entrance among all titles. “Butter” has also become the longest running No. 1 debut recorded by a single group in Hot 100 history. It is also the first song in over four years to sell at least 100,000 US downloads in each of its first five weeks, since Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”.
The 7-inch vinyl single, for $7.98, and a cassette single, for $6.98 which sold via the US BTS store prior the the single launch are scheduled to count for next week’s charts, dated July 10, a week later than originally expected due to a shift in their shipping schedules.
Success doesn’t come without scrutiny as the group has been criticized by so called members of the media due to the high volume of sales “Butter” has generated. It is difficult for some to understand the power of their fan base, ARMY, to support their artist in purchasing their product. Begging the question, isn’t that concept what’s at the core of the artist/fan relationship? These critics also fail to admit that many western artists have used similar (if not worse) tactics in paying for radio play, using bundles and extra paid promotions to get their music heard. BTS on the other hand have gained the top spot through genuine generic methods. Without the use of bundles, paid TikTok endorsements or merchandise bundles. It is surprising to some that they have remained on the top of the charts without much radio play. Further proof that radio should no longer be considered the main quantifier for success. How many people still listen to the radio anyway? Considering the “top 40” consist of the same songs replayed ad nauseam, coincidentally all supported by payola, (something that supposedly stopped being used for a while now), it is no wonder “reporters” can’t wrap their heads around BTS’s success. It would be better if they just admitted to their blatant xenophobia than try to tarnish the genuine success of one of the hardest working groups of twenty- somethings in the industry worldwide.
It is this fan and artist generic relationship that keeps BTS at the top as their fan base have been with them through many trials, tribulations and accusations. But when they are accused they answer in the best way, in mass purchasing, streaming and fan promoting within the community. Something which has not been seen in any western fan base to date. No wonder BTS has no qualms in bragging they’ve “got ARMY right behind [them].”
The western industry better sit down and strap on as this BTS train has no signs of slowing down. The septet announced a physical copy of “Butter” being released on July 9th, just in time for ARMY 8th anniversary. The album will contain a brand new single which may be the only song to dethrone “Butter” from the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100. Maybe placing them at the 1 and 2 positions respectively.
Leading up to the album release the group has revealed the 2 concepts (one for each of the two versions of the single) via their socials which show how much they’ve matured since their “Dark and Wild” days. Switching between their smooth criminals concept hinted at in “Butter” and their more playful side. Twitter has been ablaze with theories and dee dives into what each could mean. But let’s be honest, that’s one of the highlights of a BTS comeback.
Take a look at the concept photos for the “Butter” single below.