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The BTS followers investing of their favorite Ok-pop band

by newsking24

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I need to present my coronary heart by proudly owning a share in BTS, says Rei

Rei is a former trainer and a 44-year-old stay-at-home mom. She’s an enormous fan of BTS, the seven member boy band that has turn into the face of Ok-pop. She has travelled abroad to see them in live performance. And she is even a member of ARMY, the official BTS fan membership.

She can also be one among many followers who plan to take a monetary stake in BTS, when the group’s company Big Hit Entertainment formally goes public on 15 October. It’ll simply be one share, and it is much less about investing than for a way of belonging and feeling nearer to the band.

“Definitely I am not selling once I get one. This is for eternity. I want to show my heart by having that one stock,” she says.

When Big Hit makes its debut on Korea’s inventory trade, it is going to be one of many nation’s most anticipated Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of the yr. Both buyers and followers shall be chasing a chunk of Ok-Pop’s hottest and most worthwhile group. And it’s a uncommon instance of pop fandom turning into participatory capitalism.

‘You can share each second’

BTS are usually not the one Ok-Pop band with precision choreography, slick movies and a seemingly inexhaustible provide of pop earworms. But they’ve a uncommon knack for connecting with followers.

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Kim Young-mi

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Prof Kim Young-mi portray BTS: “Disco is my generation,” she says

While some may dismiss the fresh-faced boy band because the stuff of teenage women, their older followers beg to vary. Kim Young-mi is a 59-year-old professor who teaches portray, and even commits an occasional BTS scene to canvas. She loves their latest single Dynamite, an upbeat, disco-laced observe.

“Oh how much I enjoyed Dynamite. The disco! Disco is my generation! BTS is a magician bringing time back and forth,” she says. She want to purchase shares too, however will not be certain she will afford it.

Above all, she loves their willingness to interact with followers: “BTS endlessly communicate with their fans at every corner of this world, small tiny quotidian details of their daily life, their creative process, their achievements. You can share every moment with them.”

This potential to attach is likely to be their best asset, says Prof Suk-Young Kim, director of the Centre for Performance Studies at UCLA, and writer of a ebook on Ok-Pop: “K-Pop idols are very good at making their fans feel like they know you.

“More broad fan suggestions is instantly mirrored upon their efficiency, ranging from style selections to what they are saying on stage. So in a means they take heed to followers, they mirror it of their efficiency, and there is that thrill of this trade.”

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BTS followers at a live performance in New York. The group have a sizeable US fan base

For followers who’re already this emotionally invested, maybe the considered investing monetarily would not look like an enormous leap.

Does it translate?

Korean buyers would be the first to have the ability to purchase into Big Hit. But US followers have an interest too. And given BTS’s present reputation, it is not onerous to see why. Topping the US charts is a uncommon feat for any group that largely would not sing in English. Only 20 predominantly non-English tracks have ever cracked the highest ten in its 60-year historical past.

Three of them are BTS tracks, and now they’ve lastly had a primary single (though it was sung in English). US followers have responded in droves to BTS’s infectious, danceable pop – and to their willingness to interact critically about points affecting their followers.

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BTS are a worldwide Ok-pop phenomenon, and their report firm is valued at over $4bn

“BTS always emphasizes the importance of kindness and compassion and talk about many of the same experiences, fears, and dreams that we all experience at some point in our life. This brings so many fans, like myself, a sense of comfort and belonging,” says Michelle Gutierrez, a 26 year-old graduate pupil from Texas, who’s hoping to take a position when shares turns into out there within the US.

Number one debut?

Big Hit’s itemizing has seen eager curiosity from buyers. About 20% of its shares have been supplied to buyers, elevating $822m – and valuing the corporate at over $4bn. Big Hit’s chief govt Bang Si-hyuk, who owns 43% of the corporate, is about to turn into an prompt billionaire.

The seven BTS members will obtain 68,385 shares every, making all of them very rich, though they already make numerous cash. According to Forbes, they earned $50m final yr, with their street present grossing $170m.

But by some measures, their contribution to South Korea’s economic system far greater. One latest research by the tourism ministry and a authorities tourism institute calculated that their single Dynamite would generate a staggering $2.4bn in financial exercise and almost 8,000 new jobs – coming not simply from direct gross sales however from gross sales of cosmetics in addition to meals and drinks.

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It’s been estimated that BTS’s single Dynamite generated $2.4bn for the South Korean economic system

The attraction for buyers is easy: BTS are a worldwide pop music juggernaut, and so they’re prone to ship returns. Dynamite was so common that it was the primary ever video to clock up 100 million YouTube views inside 24 hours. Album gross sales are robust, even within the age of digital streaming. Live exhibits promote out in minutes, and BTS have amassed an enormous variety of model partnerships, starting from automobiles to cosmetics.

It’s uncommon, nevertheless, that followers have a possibility to purchase into a selected musical act. David Bowie issued “Bowie Bonds” in 1997, which gave buyers a lower of the royalties from his catalogue. But even then, they had been snapped up for $55m by Prudential Financial quite than being supplied to bizarre followers.

More usually, buyers purchase into companies proudly owning the publishing rights to a steady of musicians. In the case of Big Hit, 88% of its revenues got here from BTS within the first half of this yr. So buyers and followers alike see an funding in a single as an funding within the different.

That’s given some followers pause. At 23, Tina Lamoreux is a veteran of Ok-Pop fandom. She’s listened since 2012, earlier than BTS had even shaped and when followers in her residence state of Oklahoma “were usually outcasts or considered weird”. Even although Ok-Pop is now vastly common, she worries that the typically fickle nature of fame may make for a dangerous funding.

“Especially in the music industry artists can lose fame and get ‘cancelled’ so easily that I would feel it would be a risk,” she says.

Others disagree. MIRAE Asset Daewoo analyst Park Jeong-yeob says the group has proven endurance within the US market.

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BTS band members will quickly be accountable for navy service, however many followers say that will not have an effect on their help for the group

“Unlike past instances where Korean songs were propelled to success by short-term buzz, BTS’s achievement is based on the long-term development of a global fan base.”

True ARMYs

But this additionally poses a dilemma, as a result of there’s some doubt about the way forward for BTS. By legislation, all able-bodied Korean males aged between 18 and 28 should serve within the nation’s navy for 20 months.

All seven members shall be required to enroll inside the subsequent few years. Finding a option to cut up up their navy service won’t be useful both.

“BTS is not BTS if it loses one. Seven should remain intact together,” Rei says, who nonetheless thinks BTS shouldn’t be exempt.

But Prof Suk-Young Kim says the IPO might assist Big Hit diversify its portfolio. And actually, over the past 18 months the corporate has purchased two different labels. Some followers, although, assume {that a} transient hiatus will not dampen enthusiasm for BTS anyway.

“True ARMYs like me will never forget BTS just because they don’t show for couple years,” says Rei.

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