K-Town

The Business Behind BTS Bringing More Music & Physical CDs to US Fans

BTS poses for a portrait during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas.
Denise Truscello/BBMA2017/Getty Images for dcp

BTS poses for a portrait during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas.

On Aug. 21, a Target employee handling the retail giant's @AskTarget Twitter account unexpectedly went viral all thanks to K-pop boy band BTS.

With the sensational septet gearing up to release their Love Yourself: 'Her' album on Sept. 18, a fan asked the account if they could stock BTS albums because "U.S. fans want to pre-order" for the release next month. The Target employee playfully responded by namedropping a pair of BTS singles saying, "These 'Fun Boys' are on 'Fire' now. We'll share your request to carry their albums with our buyers. Thanks for tweeting your request!" leading the account with typically very little activity to earn thousands of retweets and likes.

 

Turns out BTS and their team had been listening to fans long before the social media manager at Target was roped into the conversation. On Aug. 29, the band announced that for the first time in North America their music would be available via pre-order on exclusively on Amazon. Four different versions of the album will be available via a deluxe package containing a CD, 100-page photo book, 20-page "mini book," a photocard, poster, stickers and more.

"We are excited for the growth in the U.S. market for all things BTS and Amazon is the perfect partner for us to work with as they share our vision in many ways," BTS' record label Big Hit Entertainment in Seoul tells Billboard. "Since the link was announced, we are very pleased with the reaction to this new turn for BTS. The company has also been working with Amazon and other retail distribution companies that will help to continue to expand the reach in the U.S. market."

Sources confirm with Billboard that those other retail distribution options include The Orchard, the Sony Music subsidiary specializing in distribution and marketing for independent artists and labels, that will distribute the upcoming physical CD as a domestic release to U.S. retailers. In a deal that's reportedly been in the works for six months, The Orchard will import product from Korea and sell via their stateside warehouse to all retailers that want to have it in stock in America -- such as Target -- with the company taking over digital distribution for all of BTS' past releases. The Orchard declined to comment for this article.

The bet looks likely to pay off for BTS and its partners. Not only did Love Yourself: 'Her' reportedly rise into the best-sellers list on Amazon, but the band already has a slew of K-pop chart records. Wings dropped in October and became the best-selling and highest-charting K-pop album ever on the Billboard 200 when it earned 16,000 units in its first week, 11,000 of that sum being in traditional album sales and likely all digital. In its second week, the LP moved 6,000 units including 2,000 traditional album units. Since 2015, BTS has sent four different albums to the Billboard 200. 

With deals ready and in place, BTS' famously passionate fan base -- who won the band the 2017 Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist -- are clearly ready to help their band make an even bigger splash stateside with this upcoming release. With distribution on lock, one can only wonder where this powerful Army can take the band next. They've already begun requesting BTS be played on U.S. radio. America, you've been warned.