The names Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes are so engrained in the pop-culture conscious that they hardly even need their last names for the common person to identify. Yet, all four household names were beat out by BTS in the Top Social Artist award at Sunday's Billboard Music Awards. While the Korean boy band clinched the nomination thanks to their huge and engaging social media presence -- which has seen them spend 25 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Social 50 chart so far -- and won the fan-voted honor thanks the strength of their supporters, lovingly named Army, the victory speaks to K-pop's larger global power and appeal.
Korean-pop music is crafted with keen focus on widespread appeal and consumption, seen in the multiple genres and singing styles cooked into each song with groups boasting members specializing singing, rapping, dancing for the ultimate pop package. And in the global music market where English is by far the most the most common language to hear music in, it's done well. K-pop artists have found success through Asia for years while its footprint continues to grow in America thanks to larger album sales, bigger festivals and more tour dates. The fanaticism that comes with K-pop isn't exclusively domestic either with fans around the world translating song lyrics and interviews into their native languages and supporting their favorites in any platform online possible. It's led to Rain winning the Time 100 Poll three times (most recently beating out Beyoncé in 2011), BIGBANG to be named the Best Worldwide Act at the 2011 MTV EMAs (edging out Britney Spears for the honor), Girls' Generation earning the first ever Video of the Year at the YouTube Music Awards (also beating Bieber, along with One Direction and Lady Gaga), and T-ara to win the last two years of Billboard.com's annual Fan Army Face-Off.