They’r clearing the air! BTS has responded to allegations that they manipulated the Billboard Hot 100 chart to get the top spot for some of their songs, and they’re really not here for the accusations.
“ARMY has long exploited loopholes in music chart rules (including those of Billboard) to propel BTS singles’ performance. Billboard’s rules, for example, allow people to buy a certain number of versions of songs or albums per week, and any sales per version exceeding that cap do not contribute to the artist’s weekly sales total or chart placement. For a K-pop group like BTS that typically releases multiple versions of a particular single — including both digital and physical — that can add up to multiple sales per consumer. (‘Butter,’ for instance, had six digital versions plus two physical singles.) On Twitter, where BTS has over 38 million followers, fans acting on behalf of ARMY will call out for assistance in pushing certain singles on days when they can have the most effect on chart performance,” a recent Billboard article read. “So while other singles on the Hot 100 typically rely on streaming for the majority of their weighted points (followed by airplay and then sales), the chart-topping performance of BTS’ ‘Butter’ in July, for example, was propelled mostly by sales, the bulk of which flowed directly through BTS’ own webstore, say sources familiar with the matter. That webstore, those sources say, does not recognize prior purchases or limit how many copies a fan can buy, unlike iTunes, which notes when someone already owns a copy.”
Over the years, the K-pop band — which is made up of Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, V, Jimin and Jungkook — has had four number one singles on the chart, and three that went top 10. According to the article, earlier this summer, when their tracks “Butter” and “Permission to Dance” held the top spots on the chart for 10 straight weeks, fans of other artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Dua Lipa — whose own songs were shut out from the number one spot during that time — began slamming BTS’ fanbase online and accusing them of cheating.
What Did BTS Say About It?
However, the Korean group was quick to defend themselves, with RM telling the outlet, “If there is a conversation inside Billboard about what being number one should represent, then it’s up to them to change the rules and make streaming weigh more on the ranking. Slamming us or our fans for getting to number one with physical sales and downloads, I don’t know if that’s right… It just feels like we’re easy targets because we’re a boy band, a K-pop act, and we have this high fan loyalty.”
Shin Young-Jae — president of BTS’ label, Big Hit Music — added, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually had the ability to mastermind such a thing? I get that there are market developments [related to BTS] that are head-scratchers for some people. But I don’t believe the U.S. market is one that can be handily topped by downloads alone. We think the songs’ impact was shown in many ways, and we are proud of that achievement.”
Who Even Is BTS?
For those who don’t know, BTS was first formed in 2013, and since then, they have totally taken the world by storm. They’ve released nine studio albums, four compilation albums and six extended plays over the years. They’ve also embarked (and sold out) on numerous world tours, released a few concert movies, won so many awards, broke tons of records and so much more! Their list of achievements seriously goes on and on.
Has Anyone Else Been Accused Of Cheating The Chart?
It turns out, BTS isn’t the only artist to be accused of doing this. Yep, back in May 2020, Tekashi 6ix9ine accused Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande of rigging the Billboard Hot 100 chart for their song “Stuck With U.” According to NME, in the first week, their highly-anticipated collab raked in 28.1 million U.S. streams, 26.3 million in radio airplay and 108,000 sales. On the other hand, 6ix9ine’s track, “Gooba,” garnered 55.3 million U.S. streams, 172,000 in radio airplay and 24,000 sales, earning him the number three spot on the charts.
At the time, the rapper alleged that Bieber and Grande had “bought” the number one spot on the chart in an Instagram video. He claimed that 60,000 units came in at the last second and that they were purchased with “six credit cards.” But the “Love Yourself” crooner shut down these allegations. He wrote on his Instagram Stories at the time, “60,000 units came at the end because we don’t disclose our numbers until the end of the week. That’s called strategy … The rules are clear — one credit card can buy max four copies. Anything over that, the entire amount gets thrown out. Nielsen company checks this and found all our sales were legit because our fans are amazing and bought them. Don’t discredit our fanbase with false info.”
Grande also spoke out about it, denying his allegations and thanking their fans for being “ride or dies.”
“My fans bought the song. Justin’s fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song (never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE). They are ride or die motherf**kers and I thank God every day that I have them in my life. Not just when they fight for us to win (even when I ask them not to as I did this week) but because they’re some of the greatest people I know,” she explained. “Sales count for more than streams. You can not discredit this as hard as you try. To anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason…), I ask you to take a moment to humble yourself. Be grateful you’re even here. That people want to listen to you at all. It’s a blessed position to be in. I’ve had a lot of ‘almost number ones’ in my career and I never said a godd**n thing because I FEEL GRATEFUL TO EVEN BE HERE. TO WANT TO BE HEARD AT ALL …. and you should feel that way too. Congratulations to all my talented ass peers in the top ten this week. Even number three.”