Know BTS' inspiring journey: From humble start with No More Dreams to meteoric rise with Love Yourself, Dynamite, more

BTS, the global sensation, has navigated an extraordinary journey from K-pop underdogs to the pinnacle of global stardom. Let's delve into their inspiring evolution, from humble beginnings with No More Dreams to chart-topping hits like Dynamite and Butter.

Published on Feb 20, 2024  |  06:35 PM IST |  96.4K
BTS; Image Courtesy: BIGHIT MUSIC
BTS; Image Courtesy: BIGHIT MUSIC
Key Highlight
  • Inception of BTS: The Trainee and debut era
  • BTS' Youth: First concert and rise to stardom
  • BTS: Onwards and above

BTS, the septet from South Korea, has carved an unparalleled path in the music industry, transforming from underdogs in the K-pop scene to global sensations. Their inspiring journey, marked by perseverance, innovation, and a connection with fans, showcases a trajectory from humble beginnings with tracks like No More Dreams to meteoric success with hits like DNA, Mic Drop, ON and the global phenomenon Dynamite. This is a testament to their talent, resilience, and the power of their message that resonates across borders.

BTS aka Bangtan Sonyeondan

BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, have transcended the realms of K-pop to become a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with their music, performances, and socially impactful messages. Formed by Big Hit Entertainment in 2010, BTS consists of seven members: Jin, SUGA, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. The group's name, Bangtan Sonyeondan, translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts, signifying their commitment to ward off societal stereotypes and expectations aimed at adolescents.

Debuting in 2013 with the single album 2 Cool 4 Skool, BTS gradually expanded their musical style from hip-hop roots to encompass diverse genres, emphasizing themes of mental health, youth struggles, love, and individualism. Their second Korean studio album, Wings (2016), marked a turning point, selling over one million copies in South Korea.

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BTS' global breakthrough came in 2017 when they topped the Billboard 200 with Love Yourself: Tear, becoming the first South Korean act to achieve this milestone. This success paved the way for subsequent chart-topping albums like Love Yourself: Answer (2018) and Map of the Soul: 7 (2020). The single Dynamite further solidified their global standing, making them the fastest act since the Beatles to attain four US number-one albums in under two years.

The group's impact extends beyond music, delving into diplomacy and philanthropy. BTS addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, using their platform to advocate self-love and acceptance. They have been appointed as Special Presidential Envoys for Future Generations and Culture by the South Korean president, emphasizing global agendas like sustainable development.

BTS' fandom, known as ARMY (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth), plays a crucial role in their success. With millions of dedicated fans worldwide, ARMY actively engages in charitable activities, aligning with BTS' philanthropic efforts. 

The members of BTS have also ventured into individual projects, contributing to the group's collective impact. Their filmography includes documentaries like Burn the Stage: The Movie and Break the Silence: The Movie, offering insights into their journey. Online shows like Run BTS and In The Soop provide fans with entertaining content.

BTS' accolades are extensive, including numerous awards, recognition from Time magazine, and historic achievements like being the first K-pop group nominated for a Grammy. As of 2023, BTS holds the title of the best-selling musical act in South Korean history, with over 40 million albums sold.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of their success, BTS remains grounded in their commitment to authenticity, individuality, and spreading positivity. With a scheduled hiatus for military service in 2022, BTS plans to reunite in 2025, leaving an indelible mark on the global music landscape and cultural zeitgeist.

BTS’ trainee and debut era

BTS' journey began in 2010 when Big Hit Entertainment's (now HYBE) CEO, Bang Si Hyuk, aimed to form a hip-hop group around RM (Kim Namjoon), an underground rapper in Seoul. Facing challenges with declining physical album sales and nascent digital revenues, Bang PD opted for an idol group to capitalize on live concert performances and dedicated fan support. Despite initial resistance from many trainees, J-Hope, RM, and Suga embraced the opportunity. Rejecting the conventional idol group model, Bang PD sought to create a unique group where members could express individuality. The auditions took place in 2010, and the group members trained intensely, practicing up to 15 hours a day.

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In 2013, BTS made their debut with the single album 2 Cool 4 Skool and the lead single No More Dream. While initial sales were modest, the release addressed youth anxiety and societal expectations, marking a departure from traditional K-pop themes. The subsequent O!RUL8,2? EP continued the school trilogy, exploring themes of academic pressure and dreams sacrificed. Recognized as New Artists of the Year, BTS laid the foundation for a revolutionary career, capturing the attention of global audiences with their authenticity and socially relevant narratives.


BTS’ first breakthrough: Wings era

In 2014, BTS solidified their presence in the music industry with the release of Skool Luv Affair and their first concert tour, marking a significant breakthrough. The EP topped the Gaon Album Chart and made its debut on Billboard's World Albums Chart, showcasing the group's rising popularity. Singles like Boy in Luv and Just One Day further propelled their success, while their first fan meeting in Seoul established a dedicated fanbase known as ARMY.

The release of Dark & Wild and their inaugural concert tour, 2014 BTS Live Trilogy Episode II: The Red Bullet, further amplified BTS' momentum. Their expansion into the Japanese market with Wake Up and subsequent tours underscored their growing international appeal. By captivating audiences across Asia, North America, and Latin America, BTS demonstrated their global influence.


Transitioning into the Most Beautiful Moment in Life trilogy, BTS explored diverse musical styles and thematic elements, resonating with audiences worldwide. Singles like I Need U and Dope garnered acclaim, earning the group recognition and accolades. The trilogy's culmination with Young Forever solidified BTS' status as a force to be reckoned with in the industry, setting the stage for even greater achievements to come

How BTS paved their way into global music market

BTS’ global breakthrough came with their 2017 release, Love Yourself: Her, featuring the hit single DNA. This marked their first entry on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number 85, a historic achievement for a K-pop boy band. The subsequent release, Love Yourself: Tear, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making BTS the first K-pop act to top the US albums chart.


In 2018, BTS continued their dominance with Love Yourself: Answer, which achieved Gold certification from the RIAA, and they embarked on a world tour, selling out stadiums globally, including the iconic Citi Field in New York. Their collaboration with Steve Aoki on Waste It on Me became their first all-English language feature, signaling their crossover appeal.

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The group's 2019 EP, Map of the Soul: Persona, not only topped the Billboard 200 but also became the first Korean-language album to reach number one in the UK and Australia. Their stadium world tour, Love Yourself: Speak Yourself, which included selling out Wembley Stadium, further solidified their global presence, breaking records and becoming one of the highest-grossing touring acts.

BTS reaches the global pinnacle

Despite COVID-19 striking in 2020, BTS solidified its global leadership in the music industry with groundbreaking achievements. Map of the Soul: 7 set a pre-order record, selling over 4.02 million copies, becoming South Korea's best-selling album. The single ON debuted atop the US Billboard 200, making BTS the fastest group since the Beatles to earn four number-one albums. Despite pandemic challenges, their virtual concerts broke records, showcasing their global fan connection.


BTS achieved historic success with their English-language single Dynamite, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, marking the first time an all-South Korean act achieved this feat. Their subsequent releases, including Life Goes On and Butter, continued to dominate charts globally, solidifying their impact.

The band's Grammy nominations coupled with being named IFPI's Global Recording Artist of the Year, reflect their unparalleled influence. BTS members’ foray into solo projects and diverse endeavors while maintaining group activities further cements their status as global leaders in the music industry. Their dynamic presence, chart-topping success, and massive fanbase continue to shape and redefine the landscape of contemporary music on a global scale.

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ALSO READ: BTS at Grammy Awards: From Seoul Town Road to Butter; throwback to all the times Dynamite singers stole the spotlight

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About The Author

Saumya is Journalism & Mass-Communication graduate with a specialization in digital journalism. She comes with nearly a

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Credits: BIGHIT MUSIC
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