Inside the Unrelenting Power of K-Pop: Your Guide to Everything From BTS and Beyond

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For the last four years, fans have watched as the Billboard Music Awards—an award show dictated by the venerated music publication’s iconic charts, and those dictated by (ostensibly) American music tastes—as has handed the trophy for Top Social Artist over to an act that’s recorded hardly anything in English.

A fan-voted category that once belonged to Justin Bieber, who won six years in a row, now seems to be firmly in the clutches of a septet out of South Korea who have been on the forefront of a global music revolution. We’re talking, of course, about BTS.

For their first two years, the group—comprised of RM, V, Suga, Jimin, Jin, J-Hope and Jungkook—had beaten out the likes of the Biebs, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez while standing as the lone K-pop representative anywhere in the mix of nominees. But as the popularity of K-pop across the globe has only grown exponentially, things have changed. And as the Hallyu—or Korean Wave—grows, the rising tide is beginning to, as the saying goes, lift all boats.

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