According to Hits Daily Double, BTS’s Map of the Soul: 7 sold approximately 410,691 albums* in its first week, including a pure sales amount totaling 339,598 albums!
*These numbers come from Buzz Angle Music, a chart that’s a rising rival to Billboard. The two don’t always agree. Even so, I expect the final BB 200 number to be close.
Can you imagine what BTS’ sales numbers would have looked like for MOTS:7 had they bundled?! Based on the anticipated pure sale numbers alone, I can easily picture the American music industry taking a collective crap if BTS ever decided to bundle just for the hell of it.
I also strongly suspect that if their management company, Big Hit Entertainment, publicly announced its intentions to bundle alongside a future stadium tour or a wave of merchandise (like new ARMY bombs!), it might bring about the end of bundling for U.S. Billboard as we know it.
BTS stays exposing fakery, and the “bundles issue” is no different.
If BTS has among the best pure sales in America right now, we can only imagine how much their numbers would balloon with bundles. And with so many artists and record labels currently fronting with inflated numbers, just imagine how dumb everyone would look next to BTS.
Let’s say you have a group that put up first-week album sale numbers at 400,000 thanks to ticket bundles. In theory, BTS could double that number with their own bundles. And that’s just ticket sales. Tickets and merchandise? Game over.
BTS would be so far out in front, bundles would no longer serve its obvious face-saving purpose. What then?
Well, Billboard would have a simple choice to make:
A.) Allow the U.S. music industry to be straight up clowned by BTS indefinitely by keeping to this shady system in place.
B.) Abandon the system, but then expose once and for all just how poor album sales are right now thanks to the music industry handing the keys to the kingdom over to Spotify and the like.
BTS is embarrassing everyone right now with their pure sale numbers, especially when you consider how xenophobia and bias are keeping them from getting all the fair exposure they deserve. There are artists with every possible advantage who still can’t get close to what BTS achieved organically.
Big Hit and BTS are perpetual disrupters, seeking to subvert the subverters. Bundling not out of necessity but rather to bulldoze the system? I don’t rule it out entirely.
After getting past the suffocating unfairness of the South Korean industry, Big Hit and BTS are now facing even worse corruption and shadiness in the world’s biggest market. But as was the case in Korea, BTS members now find themselves in the position to turn the American market on its head by shaking the bundles-laden table.
Should BTS and Big Hit do so, I can believe Billboard would react to industry “concerns” and change the rules. As a point of reference, look no further than the Lil Nas X debacle.
I mentioned his situation previously. At this point, there’s no way anyone can ignore what he managed to achieve. His single “Old Town Road” (and its various remixes) were able to stay atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 17 consecutive weeks. That’s longer than any other song in the chart’s history!
However, had Billboard not removed the single from certain charts because it “wasn’t country enough,” how different would things be today? If Billboard had just left well enough alone, “Old Town Road” might have gotten that #1, but then petered out of American consciousness within a couple of months.
Thanks to the magazine’s choice to interfere, Billboard effectively glued “Old Town Road” to the top of their charts for many weeks. At the same time, the brand indirectly screwed over a number of top artists hoping for a #1 hit in 2019.
I imagine that a lot of people were veeery angry over this, and probably remain that way.
We already have evidence that Billboard can and will step in to “fix things” according to certain standards and expectations. Therefore, I don’t find it unreasonable that if BTS blows the lid off of the entire US industry to a humiliating degree, some changes wouldn’t get immediately made to cope.
After all, with bundling used to protect the egos of top artists and their labels, what would be left to protect if BTS decided to do the same?
As BTS gets stronger and stronger in the US market, I suspect there are already people PRAYING that Big Hit and Columbia Records keep the septet as far away from “the B-word” as possible.
The petty part of me wants BTS to bundle one time and cause chaos and terror to reign for a spell as everyone scrambles. But with BTS being absolute sweethearts and Big Hit seeing that bundles aren’t necessary (they do cost money that the artists have to pay back…), we’ll probably never see bundles for future BTS releases
In any case, we should all be proud of how well MOTS: 7 is doing, as it’s off to a mighty start. Remember to keep streaming and remember to buy the tracks separately!
SHOULD BTS BUNDLE ONE TIME AND SHAKE THE INDUSTRY? WOULD BUNDLES SUDDENLY NO LONGER BE ALLOWED? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!
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