BTS V recently got into a controversy for not bowing to reporters and fans at the airport, which speaks volumes about the importance of fanservice within the Kpop industry.
The importance of Kpop fandoms
Kpop is becoming more and more impactful and popular on a world-wide scale, with Kpop fans coming from every corner of the world, not just limited to Korea and Asian nations.
The phenomenal successes of famous Kpop groups like BTS, BLACKPINK, EXO, Red Velvet, etc, and legendary 2nd generation groups like BIG BANG, SNSD, Super Junior, SHINee, and so on, are all highly independent on each group’s fandom.
For BTS, their “global boy group” title can be credited to the intense presence of ARMYs (fandom of BTS), who cover every continent. In fact, the leader of BTS, RM, even confirmed it himself, saying: “BTS’s success today is all thanks to ARMY”.
From a no-name group that debuted under BigHit Entertainment, which in 2013 was a tiny company under the basement, BTS has now become a global sensation and a spearheader of the Korean wave around the world.
With 7 members, all from Korea, of unique personalities and colors, alongside meaningful songs and sincere lyrics, BTS has managed to conquer the audience and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, ARMYs support BTS by buying the group’s albums, concert tickets, merchandise, and voting in music shows, charts, and award ceremonies.
According to a report published by Hanteo Global, BTS has reigned over physical album sales charts for 5 consecutive years, from 2017 to 2021. These positions and figures are clear testaments of BTS’ extensive fandom, who boasts an outstanding sense of loyalty.
ARMY is also ready to defend their idols when they are treated unfairly. Recently, when V was criticized by some media for his cold attitude of not greeting fans and reporters at the airport, immediately, many fans spoke out against the media to protect him.
They specifically explained why V acted out of the ordinary. Some fans also emphasized that V is a typical idol of humility, friendliness and openness in communicating and interacting with fans.
Previously, when BTS was mentioned on a program with negative content on Channel Nine, the ARMY community also organized a social media campaign with the hashtag #Channel9Apologise, denouncing Channel Nine as racist and forcing the station to apologize.
Once an artist is loved by fans, they seem to have an unimaginable “power” in their hands, which is the “key” to maintain their reputation.
This is similar to the case of Blackpink. The group has not released any new music products for nearly 2 years since “The Album” (October 2020). However, the popularity of the 4 members has not yet decreased and even increased.
This “favor” is thanks to the enthusiastic of the Blink community (Blackpink’s fandom), who always believes in their idols and patiently waits for them.
Understanding the “power” of fans
Sports Kyunghyang affirmed, “No fans, no stars“. Therefore, K-pop artists are always looking for ways to build a good relationship between themselves and their fandoms.
In the Korean music market, artists often and actively interact with fans. Besides large-scale concerts, Kpop idols often hold fan meetings, conduct live streams, or provide services such as messaging on paid apps for fans.
The singer-actress often joins fans in charity activities and buys gifts for fans. Recently, IU’s fan community shared on social media the snacks prepared by IU herself for fans waiting for her at the airport, when she returned to Korea after going abroad to promote the new movie “Broker”.
Many entertainment companies now have their own fan marketing department, with “fan managers” who specialize in managing fandoms. They must make sure to plan to maintain the connection between fans and artists because Kpop fans always have a great “power“, and have a direct influence on the careers of stars.