BTS and ARMY, their fanbase, have been accused of manipulating Billboard charts, but chart analysts and music journalists state the K-Pop group is earning their #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart fairly.
For many, BTS’s success on the Billboard charts indicates that the Hot 100 is now truly global. Maria Sherman, a music journalist and the author of Larger Than Life: a History of Boy Bands From NKOTB To BTS, pointed out that BTS’s dominance of the Hot 100 chart is a testament to the group’s massiveness and shows that their songs are huge successes in the United States, even though BTS hails from South Korea.
For many, the Billboard charts are still the ultimate barometer for achievement and there is no more reputable way to show the success of an artist or what the biggest song in the U.S. is at any given moment. …On top of that, BTS’s success has altered the way pop music fans think about the chart. Once, non-English-language artists could never top it, but now a Korean group has taken it over. The Hot 100 is finally, truly, global.
— Maria Sherman
Despite experts maintaining that BTS has rightfully earned their #1s on the Hot 100, some people believe that BTS and ARMY are manipulating the chart through mass streaming and bulk buying.
Chris Molanphy, a chart analyst and pop critic, said ARMY is playing “totally fair” as long as they’re not “artificially boosting streaming or sales totals with robotic replays or fake purchases.”
Maria Sherman echoed Chris Molanphy’s sentiments and pointed out that Western artists and their fans have used the same practices to boost their chart ranking.
It is something other Western artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande have done for a long time. They have used bundle sales to prop up their position on the chart. In the past, diehard fans would request their favorite songs on the radio to bump up those numbers. But there is nothing illegal or unethical being done here.
— Maria Sherman