Take a bow, BTS. The K-pop phenomenon have received the 2020 IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award, an annual honor that recognizes an act’s worldwide popularity across streaming and sales, including vinyl, downloads and CDs.
BTS smash records for fun. And with the IFPI accolade, announced Thursday (March 4), the boy band set another benchmark by becoming the first champ to perform primarily in a language other than English.
And, of course, they become the first South Korean and first Asian act to take the title.
BTS came close to winning the trade body’s top award in 2018, when they finished second, and again in 2019, coming in seventh.
Despite the pandemic, the pop septet slotted into record-setting form last year.
In April 2020, the group bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with Map of the Soul: 7, their fourth No. 1 in less than two years.
Map of the Soul: 7 is one of the most pre-ordered albums of all time, notes the IFPI, and the album ruled the charts in more than 20 countries.
That was just the start of a monster year for BTS. The Japanese-language Map of the Soul : 7 ~ The Journey ~ bolted past 500,000 copies within two days of its release in July 2020. Later, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook became the first Korean act to score a Billboard Hot 100 leader as “Dynamite” hit the summit, and busted records for opening-day streams on YouTube and Spotify. “Dynamite” earned a historic Grammy nomination, for best pop duo/group performance.
Before the year closed out, Be stormed the global charts, and gave the group their fifth No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
“BTS are a global phenomenon,” comments IFPI CEO Frances Moore. “They have had another outstanding year, releasing three albums, and continually finding creative and engaging ways to share their story with the world. They truly show the power that music has to bring joy and happiness to people the world over.”
IFPI Top 10 Global Recording Artists of 2020
2. Taylor Swift
4. The Weeknd
5. Billie Eilish
7. Post Malone
8. Ariana Grande
9. Juice Wrld
10. Justin Bieber