A world-quaking South Korean boy band, BTS stands for "Bangtan Sonyeondan," a Korean phrase that translates literally to "Bulletproof Boy Scouts." When they conquered English-speaking markets, they repurposed the acronym to mean "Beyond The Scene."
They were assembled by the South Korean company Big Hit Entertainment in 2013, which is run by the impresario "Hitman" Bang (real name: Bang Si-hyuk). Thanks to the group, he became the first entertainment mogul in South Korea to become a billionaire.
Big Hit went public in 2020 at a valuation of $822 million. Each member of BTS was granted 68,385 shares, making them each millionaires after the IPO.
Unlike most boy bands, the group does a lot of their own writing and producing. Their lyrics often express their emotions, and sometimes challenge the strictures of society - something rarely heard in South Korean pop music.
With a massive, multicultural fan base and pressure from touchy governments, BTS are very careful in their words, offering anodyne answers to interview questions so as not to offend. They keep their message positive and maintain a sense of harmony in the band, which goes over well with their fans.
Their fans are known as ARMY. They are substantial and well organized, often funding charity projects at the behest of the group. They've raised millions for causes like clean drinking water and education.
The oldest member is Jin, who on December 4, 2020 turned 28, the age when South Korean men are required to enlist for military service. To keep the band together, South Korea's Parliament passed a law allowing K-pop stars who have received medals for elevating the country's cultural influence to defer service until age 30.