This is also an old trick that helps all of BTS’ previous songs rise to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, although their influence may not be really strong in this market.
The way fans help Butter hold #1 on Billboard Hot 100 for the 4th week in a row
The fact that BTS’ Butter continues to rise to the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the 4th week in a row is a happiness of the BTS fan community. However, this was like “the last straw” that made BTS receive countless fierce criticisms from the mass audience. They argue that the way fans helped BTS reach #1 has created an unfair race for achievement, a false reflection of the song’s popularity in the US market.
Specifically, in the past week, BTS’ Butter has had the 4th week in a row holding No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, setting more records for this popular boygroup. This achievement, on the other hand, is almost entirely due to the digital sales of the song Butter with 111.4 thousand downloads.
It should be said, Butter consumption can reach the above number by adding together all versions released by the manufacturer in turn to stimulate sales. The original and the instrumental version released on May 21; Hotter (remix) version released on May 28; Cooler (remix); and Sweeter (remix) versions released on June 4. All 5 versions above are discounted at $0.69. This method makes it easier for BTS fans to spend money on bulk single purchases, cementing Butter’s #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
The company also released a Butter version for $7.98 and a cassette version for $6.98, all of which will be included in next week’s total sales.
Although Billboard does not have a law prohibiting the release of too many versions, the continuous release of “innocent” versions aims to increase total revenue. This means that the No. 1 position can now be easily manipulated with fans’ money, not reflecting the actual influence of a song.
The real impact of Butter in the US market
Although dominating in the Digital Song Sales Chart, Butter has had poor results on Radio Songs and Streaming Songs charts. Specifically, in the streaming segment alone, Butter only brought in 12.5 million streams (dropped from #19 to #25). In the radio segment, Butter shows a slight increase from #28 to #25; its radio index is of 25.8 million plays.
Notably, this is the same method as to how BTS reached #1 with Dynamite and Life Goes On. Meanwhile, America’s emerging music phenomenon – Olivia Rodrigo – may not have as high sales as BTS, but her songs are really widespread with huge streams. Holding the runner-up position on the Billboard Hot 100 last week, Olivia Rodrigo’s good 4 u brought in 36 million streams, 3 times more than BTS. However, because the number of fans is not as large as BTS, she only sold 9.6 thousand copies of Digital Sales in the past week, the number is less than 1/10 of BTS.
Previously, a famous author, Tom Breihan, also wrote an article criticizing Butter’s unfair competition with other songs to reach No. 1 at Billboard: “Butter made it to #1 almost entirely based on sales of discounted digital singles. “Butter” did get a lot of streams. But it didn’t get as much as any of the three most popular songs from Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album. So “Butter,” like the big BTS hits that preceded it, sits at #1 right now mostly because BTS have effectively mobilized their tireless fan army.”
Consequently, BTS’s success does not constitute a violation of the law. They made effective use of the fandom’s collective strength to achieve their goal. However, manipulating the Billboard Hot 100 ranking in the same way for every comeback sets a troubling precedent. Getting to No. 1 has become far too simple. And the notion of “picking the most popular music in America in a week” has been distorted. The situation of BTS is compelling enough for Billboard to reconsider their decades-old scoring systems.