Is BTS making radio ‘cool’ again?

‘BTS Radio: Past & Present’ traces the history of BTS, ahead of the June 10 release of their new anthological album ‘Proof’. — ETX Studio pic

‘BTS Radio: Past & Present’ traces the history of BTS, ahead of the June 10 release of their new anthological album ‘Proof’. — ETX Studio pic

Thursday, 02 Jun 2022 8:25 AM MYT

SEOUL, June 2 — K-pop group BTS continues to rack up the records. The latest one is for the most listened to radio show on Apple Music since the beginning of the year. The South Korean boy band achieved this feat with the program BTS Radio: Past & Present, which looks back on its history.

“BTSARMY, you did it!!” Those are the words Apple Music used on Twitter to praise the dedication of the K-pop group’s fans, commonly known as ARMY. They recently helped Jungkook and his cohorts break a new record for listeners on the streaming platform with the first episode of their new radio show BTS Radio: Past & Present. he three-episode program traces the history of the K-pop kings ahead of the June 10 release of their new anthology album Proof. “We wanted to use this radio show to celebrate nine years of BTS with you guys and with our ARMY all over the world,” said RM, one of the members of the boy band, before the release of the first episode.

The first part of BTS Radio: Past & Present takes listeners on a tour of the songs that helped define the sound and style of the phenomenon. The second episode, airing on June 3, will revisit some of the South Korean boy band’s fan-favorite songs, while the third and final episode will focus on its dramatic rise. “Every episode is dedicated to you,” RM explained in a statement.

Getting young fans into radio

The success of BTS Radio: Past & Present attests to the immense popularity of Jin, Jimin, V, RM, J-Hope, Suga and Jungkook, as well as their ability to mobilize their “army” for each of their new projects. They have been breaking records for the last five years, in spite of the fact that their productions are mainly in Korean. Their latest success: pushing their (very) young fans to embrace radio.

That in and of itself wasn’t a sure thing from the get go. For more than a decade, music lovers have been turning away from FM airwaves in favor of platforms. First with YouTube, then Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Apple Music and now TikTok. People now listen to music online, on their smartphones or computers, and not so much through a radio set. Only 19 per cent of Americans belonging to Generation Z listen to the radio every day, according to a report by Attest. In comparison, two-thirds of them consult music streaming platforms daily.

In this new music ecosystem, stations seem to have lost their role as trendsetters and tastemakers for young people. Except when it comes to Apple Music 1. Young music lovers do listen to Apple Music’s flagship radio station, formerly called Beats 1. This success is due not only to the station’s in-depth artist interviews and world premieres, but also shows hosted by big names in music. Billie Eilish, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Nile Rodgers, J Balvin and even members of the virtual band Gorillaz have already joined in.

That list of names will continue to grow in the coming months, if Oliver Schusser, the vice president of Apple Music, is to be believed. “Apple Music radio provides an unparalleled global platform for artists across all genres to talk about, create, and share music with their fans, and this is just the beginning,” he outlined back in August 2020. “We will continue to invest in live radio and create opportunities for listeners around the world to connect with the music they love.” Something already accomplished with BTS Radio: Past & Present. — ETX Studio


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