Why BTS Fans Don't Want You To Think of Them as a K-Pop Band

BTS fans have launched an online campaign to free the group of their K-pop tag, demanding they be respected as artists in their own right.

The band, comprised of Jimin, Jungkook, Jin, J-Hope, RM, V and Suga, debuted in 2013 and has since been catapulted to fame around the world.

BTS has a reel of accolades, including a Grammy nomination, several YouTube world records, a partnership as house ambassadors for luxury designer Louis Vuitton and, most recently, their own McDonald's meal.

Fans of the group, who call themselves the ARMY, took to social media trending the phrase "Free BTS" after Good Morning America aired a segment on the culture of K-pop ahead of their performance.

The section saw BTS referred to as the "latest in a long line of Korean pop stars."

It then more broadly branched out into the success of K-pop, showing clips of various K-pop groups, whilst highlighting why the genre as a whole is a success.

Fans felt the segment failed to credit BTS specifically as the artists that paved the way for other groups to follow.

They also demanded that the superstar band be considered artists in their own right rather than be continuously boxed in with other K-pop groups.

Twitter user @AboulmagdMenna wrote: "Free BTS I think it's very rude of them to put other KPOP artists when there talking about BTS. BTS is BTS they should respect BTS Bc BTS doesn't have to promote other artist. Respect BTS."

"Free BTS. I'm gonna try to put this on an unbiased note. Just because you're mentioning BTS doesn't mean you add on every other kpop artist, like a tag," @jiminchoos_ wrote. "It's disrespectful to both parties equally. We're not being toxic, we're asking you to respect them as individuals."

Free BTS I think it’s very rude of them to put other KPOP artists when there talking about BTS. BTS is BTS they should respect BTS Bc BTS doesn’t have to promote other artist. Respect BTS pic.twitter.com/xkSAOXgM35

— Jungkookie (@Babyjungkookkk) May 28, 2021

@butterlizz hit out at the breakfast show for "disrespecting" the group, adding: "FREE BTS FROM THIS KPOP AGENDA THEY ARE BTS STOP BRINGING THE WHOLE INDUSTRY !!! RESPECT KAREN RESPECT."

"Free BTS from that boxed in kpop label," user @Gookiekrispz urged. "They don't have anything to do with those other groups! They are so much more than the narrative that the music industry and media keeps pushing. They're songwriters, composers, producers and the list goes on."

Hundreds of fans also tweeted this phrase: "Free BTS. BTS paved the way. BTS is not K-pop."

Newsweek has contacted representatives of Good Morning America for comment.

BTS' appearance on the show comes at the end of a hugely successful week for the group.

The group launched their special McDonald's collaboration, unveiled an epic two-day livestream event to mark their eighth anniversary and were officially confirmed to have broken both the YouTube premiere record and record for most views in 24 hours with their new song "Butter."

On Tuesday, a YouTube representative confirmed to Newsweek that the video demolished the group's previous 24-hour record, which they held with 101.1 million views for their 2020 track "Dynamite."

The "Butter" music video racked up a staggering 108.2 million viewers on its first day on the platform.

To add another achievement to the mix, BTS now holds the top two spots for the biggest YouTube premieres to date.

BTS first debuted back in 2013
Jimin, Jungkook, RM, J-Hope, V, Jin, and SUGA of the K-pop boy band BTS visit the "Today" Show at Rockefeller Plaza on February 21, 2020 in New York City. BTS first debuted back in 2013 and has since seen global success. Cindy Ord/WireImage