BTS Denies Claims of Chart "Manipulation" Tactics: "We're Easy Targets"

BTS and their talent agency are firing back at speculation that the group's fan ARMY might be trying to manipulate the music charts in their favor.

By Corinne Heller Aug 26, 2021 3:20 PMTags
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BTS wants to set the record straight when it comes to their success on the music charts.

For more than a year, the popular K-pop group has come under scrutiny for the band's high rankings. Some consumers and critics theorize that their fans, the ARMY, might be gaming the system by organizing mass purchases of BTS' music. Billboard notes that BTS' singles have topped the music charts despite the group's weaker streaming numbers and radio airplay than some of its pop contemporaries.

"It's a fair question," BTS member RM told the magazine in a cover interview, published on Thursday, Aug. 26, regarding allegations that the ARMY's work amounts to chart manipulation. "But if there is a conversation inside Billboard about what being No. 1 should represent, then it's up to them to change the rules and make streaming weigh more on the ranking."

He continued, "Slamming us or our fans for getting to No. 1 with physical sales and downloads, I don't know if that's right...It just feels like we're easy targets because we're a boy band, a K-pop act, and we have this high fan loyalty."

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BTS' latest single, "Butter," is currently ranked No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Their previous song, "Permission to Dance," is at No. 66. Both debuted at No. 1.

Shin Young-Jae, president of BTS' label, Big Hit Music, was asked if parent company HYBE Corporation organizes fans in any chart manipulation. Chuckling, he told Billboard, "Wouldn't it be nice if we actually had the ability to mastermind such a thing?"

He continued, "I get that there are market developments [related to BTS] that are head-scratchers for some people. But I don't believe the U.S. market is one that can be handily topped by downloads alone. We think the songs' impact was shown in many ways, and we are proud of that achievement."

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