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Exclusive: BTS Reflect on the Massive Success of ‘Dynamite’ in India

The South Korean septet take a moment to express their surprise and gratitude towards their Indian ARMYs

Riddhi Chakraborty Sep 04, 2020

Photo: Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

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While 2020 has been full of pain, canceled plans and sorrow for the entire world in the wake of COVID-19, global superstars BTS are doing their best to bring in some much-needed cheer and light. “It is about having hope even in the toughest of times,” the South Korean group tells Rolling Stone India about their latest record-breaking single “Dynamite.” Adding, “We think that many people, regardless of their cultural background, relate themselves to these messages we want to deliver and enjoy our music.”

On the day of its release, the vibrant, uplifting music video for “Dynamite” saw the biggest YouTube live premiere in the website’s history, raking three million concurrent viewers and going on to tally a total of 101.1 million views within its first 24 hours. BTS–comprising RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook– also went on to make history on September 1st, when “Dynamite” debuted at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making the group the first South Korean act to achieve this feat and the first Asian act to do so in over 57 years. While the track’s success in America was somewhat obvious, what truly surprised many was how much it resonated here in India.

Among the list of countries that viewed “Dynamite” the most within the first 24 hours of its release, India contributed a reported 8.6 million views to the total of 101.1 million, becoming the third-highest after Indonesia and the U.S.A. India was also the second-highest in the world to stream “Dynamite” on the first day of its release on Spotify. A few days later, “Dynamite” broke the record for most ever streams of a song on Spotify India in a week, with over 2.4 million local plays. These numbers were staggering, and while BTS has been gaining a large following in the country over the past year, we hadn’t seen streaming figures as high as this on previous releases. The group’s Indian ARMYs weren’t the only ones pleasantly surprised; BTS themselves were taken aback once we presented them with the data.

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In this exclusive interview with Rolling Stone India, the superstar septet expresses their surprise and gratitude towards Indian fans, discuss noticing desi ARMY’s efforts for local charities in the country and hope to add India to their list of potential tour destinations.

“Dynamite” was massively successful in India, racking up streaming numbers that shocked us all. Does it surprise you to find out that you are so popular in our country, almost a household name at this point?

BTS: It still surprises us how much our fans across the globe support us. The figures you showed, in particular, are quite amazing. We’re so thankful to our ARMY, and we’re thrilled to see how well the song has been received in India. We’re really grateful that our music can act as a bridge to connect us to fans everywhere.

It’s very difficult for most international artists to break into the Indian market because of Bollywood’s stronghold over the scene as well as cultural and language differences–why do you think BTS has been able to achieve this milestone despite these barriers?

BTS: We focus on the messages behind our music that we want to deliver to the listeners. The messages are a reflection of our experiences and what we’ve learned from them. For example, through our Love Yourself album series, we wanted to tell our audiences the importance of self-love and acceptance. And “Dynamite” is about having hope even in the toughest of times. We think that many people, regardless of their cultural background, relate themselves to these messages we want to deliver and enjoy our music. We truly appreciate that.

What do you think it is about “Dynamite” in particular that allowed it to make such a massive impact on audiences from so many different countries?

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BTS: It’s needless to say that this has been a difficult year for many people around the world. We were discouraged by the situation as well, and we think everyone felt the need for some positive energy. “Dynamite” is a fun and upbeat song about treasuring little things in life and doing what you can do best. Our primary goal of this track was to give hope to and cheer up the people who listen to the song. We’re just happy to see that “Dynamite” has resonated with so many people around the world and has energized them like we hoped.

The BTS Indian ARMY is extremely passionate about local charity drives and donations in your name. Do you find out about movements like this via social media? How do you feel about the fact that your fans are able to change lives in our country because of your music and message?

BTS: We recently heard about the flood that affected India and ARMY raised money to donate to relief funds. ARMY is truly amazing, and we admire and respect their actions to spread positive influence. ARMY say that they are influenced by us, but for us it’s the other way around and ARMY truly inspires us to do better.

Do you think after seeing the success of your music in India, it seems like a possible tour destination for you in the near future?

BTS: There is nothing more we want right now than to perform on stage and meet our fans again in person. Our goal is to reach out to as many ARMY as possible across the globe and we’ll continue to do our best to make that happen as soon as the situation gets better!

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