BTS notch sixth No. 1 album on Billboard 200 chart with Proof

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NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - On June 10, K-pop powerhouse BTS released a three-disc compilation album, Proof.

It was sure to be a hit, and this week it opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, with the equivalent of 314,000 sales in the United States, according to the tracking service Luminate.

It is the group's sixth album to top the Billboard chart.

But BTS' importance to Hybe, the South Korean entertainment company behind the group, was underscored when BTS announced four days later that they were taking a break to let their seven members focus on solo projects.

The next day, Hybe's stock price dropped 28 per cent, trimming US$1.7 billion (S$2.4 billion) market value from the company; since then the share price has improved only slightly.

BTS account for nearly one-third of Hybe's sales in the US, according to company disclosures, and as recently as 2020, nearly 90 per cent of Hybe's revenues were related to BTS and their music.

That was before Hybe bought Ithaca Holdings, the company led by American music executive Scooter Braun, the manager of singers Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, in a deal that was reported be worth as much as US$1 billion.

But BTS' effect is not limited to their management company's account books.

Last month, the group spoke at the White House against anti-Asian hate crimes, and was hosted by US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office.

Fans worldwide, who act as indomitable cheerleaders under the collective name Army, swarmed the social media to commiserate and discuss the announcement.

The success of Proof followed a marketing playbook that has become standard for K-pop groups, with fans rushing to buy c...

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