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(3rd LD) BTS becomes first group to top key Billboard chart

2018/05/28 17:15

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(ATTN: UPDATES with comments from BTS members, congratulatory message from foreign ministry; CHANGES headline; RECASTS first three paras)

SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) -- World-renowned K-pop group BTS has become the first Korean act to top one of the main Billboard charts with its third studio album.

The band's "Love Yourself: Tear" ranked No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, according to the online edition of the U.S. Billboard magazine on Sunday (U.S. time).

The Billboard 200 is one of two main Billboard charts along with the Hot 100. Rapper Psy stayed on the Hot 100 singles chart for seven consecutive weeks with "Gangnam Style" in 2012, but no Korean has reached the top on either of the charts.

This file photo shows boy band BTS. (Yonhap) This file photo shows boy band BTS. (Yonhap)

"It feels so unreal that we topped the Billboard 200," the group's leader RM said through his management agency, Big Hit Entertainment, on Monday. "I would like to extend my great thanks to our ARMY members all over the world. I love you and we'll become better a BTS," he said, referring to the group's fiercely devoted fan base, who call themselves the ARMY.

"We became able to do music thanks to you and reach the top on the Billboard 200 because you supported us," member Jin said. "It's a great honor that we came to hit No. 1 with a Korean-language album and we hope more people would be interested in Korean culture as well as BTS."

   The South Korean foreign ministry congratulated BTS on its landmark achievement on the Billboard chart.

"A new history of K-pop! We congratulate you, BTS, on your becoming the first K-pop group to take the top spot on the Billboard albums chart," the ministry said on its official Twitter account. It is very unusual for the foreign ministry to post a congratulatory message on the chart performance of an individual act.

The BTS album, released May 18, launched with 135,000 equivalent album units earned in the United States in the week ending May 24, the Billboard magazine said, citing the tally from Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 100,000 were in traditional album sales, it added.

The chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in America based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums.

It's also the first No. 1 for a world music genre album ever and the first in over 12 years for a primarily non-English album.

In 2006, the classical crossover vocal quartet Il Divo topped the list with "Ancora," which blends songs performed in Spanish, Italian and French, along with a track sung partially in English.

"Love Yourself: Tear" also logs the biggest week yet for K-pop, both in overall units and traditional album sales. The previous high-water mark was earned by BTS, as well, with 'Love Yourself: Her,' when it debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the Oct. 7, 2017-dated list," the magazine said.

With the new release, the boy band has broken its own records set for the K-pop scene.

The album sold more than 1 million copies within the first week of its release and preorders hit a record high of 1.5 million copies.

It also claimed the top spot on iTunes' Top Albums charts in 65 countries, including the U.S., Australia and Brazil, upon its release.

On Friday, BTS landed at No. 8 on the UK Official Albums Chart Top 100 for the new release, the highest-ever for a K-pop group. The music video of "Fake Love," the title track off the album, surpassed 100 million in YouTube views on Sunday, just eight days and about nine hours after its release.

sshim@yna.co.kr

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