SEOUL — K-pop super group BTS is no stranger when it comes to smashing album sales and breaking music streaming records. But against its colossal brand recognition, the one nagging caveat for BTS especially in the West had been its lack of ample presence on radio airwaves — a key index in measuring the broad public appeal of an artist.
That was until its latest single “Dynamite” exploded globally, and especially more prominently in the United States and other Western territories, such as Britain. The septet made history last month by becoming the first South Korean recording artists to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s main Hot 100 singles chart with the disco-pop track.
Radio is a key component in aggregating the Billboard Hot 100, which also measures physical and digital sales and streaming elements in the mix. Billboard tracks airplay audience impressions from some 1,200 radio stations throughout America for the Hot 100.
In today’s era of smartphones that offers instant on-demand access and seemingly endless choices in an environment of a la carte streaming, radio remains powerful as a platform in terms of audience outreach. According to Nielsen, 272 million Americans listen to radio each week as of 2019, and given the increasing traffic and commute times, the figure is not about to diminish anytime soon.
Compared to the band’s past Hot 100 hits, “Dynamite” has delivered BTS its best performance to date on the American radio front, expanding its outreach toward the broader, casual music consumers in the US, many of whom may not have heard of BTS in the past.
Upon its release, the song marked BTS’ highest debut on Billboard’s Pop Songs radio airplay chart at No. 30. According to Billboard, “Dynamite” generated 2,301 plays in its first three