On Saturday, April 17th BTS aired the second edition of BANG BANG CON 2021. The 8 hour-long event presented fans with the choicest picks from BTS’ enviable arena and concert tours in their amazing nine-year journey together! The online event began at 11:30 am IST with BTS Live Trilogy Ep 1 BTS Begins (Memories of 2015), followed by BTS’ 5th Muster (Magic Shop in Busan) and finally, BTS World Tour (Speak Yourself Sao Paulo Brazil). ARMY all over the world enjoyed the concert thoroughly. Those who attended re-lived it once again and the others imagined themselves to be there.
But it isn’t just an emotional win for BTS and their label Big Hit Entertainment, rather a big win for their hard-earned goodwill and reputation as the ‘Greatest Boy Band in the world at the moment’. Big Hit Entertainment revealed that BTS drew over 2.7 million simultaneous viewers for BANG BANG CON 2021! Yes, that’s right, BTS managed to draw in more virtual concert-goers for BANG BANG CON 2021, in comparison to BANG BANG CON 2020, where they recorded an impressive worldwide viewership of 2.24 million simultaneous viewers. This is definitely a significant growth from the last time.
What does this even mean? It means that it is a commendable move and K-pop companies are certainly ahead of their time. COVID-19 has shaken everyone and changed the concept of ‘normal’ forever. However, one cannot help but admire how swiftly K-pop agencies have harnessed the power of digital media and streaming to keep the show running! It is simple, allow us to explain. The pandemic is a time when things have slowed down, everyone is mostly confined to their homes and have more time on hand. This has allowed audiences to explore more content. K-pop labels have struck the iron while it’s hot and reached out to these inquisitive audiences and converted them into fans! The existing stans who missed out on attending their concerts in person can now enjoy their favourite artist’s concert from the comfort of their homes! It is a win-win situation for all!
SM Entertainment’s Chris Lee coined the term ‘Culture Technology’ in a ted-talk style presentation titled “The true value of K-Pop.” This essentially means combining your culture – dance, music, tasteful aesthetics, powerful performances and idol-fan interaction and blend it with technology – Augmented Reality and streaming platforms! Culture Technology is not the future, it is in fact the present and the now.
According to Wall Street Journal’s official research, Shawols (SHINee’s fandom) paid $40 each to attend SHINee’s online concert in April titled, SHINee WORLD. The concert was broadcast on the online performance platform, Beyond LIVE. The platform was launched by SM Entertainment in collaboration with Naver last year. The concert was a tremendous success as fans worldwide were eager to watch SHINee members showcase new performances from their comeback. This is what technology does, it helps you live in the moment. Yes, it is agreeable that nothing can beat the charm of watching concerts live, watching your favourite artists perform in flesh and blood, but online concerts allow you to live the present right now!
Next month, SHINee’s Taemin will be enlisting in the military. However, before that, he will be hosting a solo concert for his fans. Now imagine, if the culture of online concerts wouldn’t exist at all, we would miss watching Taemin perform for us and wouldn’t get to meet him for the next two years! Another wonderful aspect of online concerts is the community experience. On the day of BANG BANG CON 2021, my phone was abuzz with messages from ARMY, friends and colleagues. All of us were excited to watch BANG BANG CON 2021. We had pre-decided to dress in purple (BTS’ official colour), keep our snacks and ARMY bombs ready and went on a group chat to stream it together.
This allowed us to feel one. Online concert culture allows new fans to feel welcomed as seasoned fans! It allows us to witness a spectacle unfold in front of our eyes as our favourite artists take over and mesmerize us with their charisma and talent. Sure, nothing beats the experience of watching your favourite artists in flesh and blood and knowing that they are a few meters away from you. But, that shall remain always. Online concert culture isn’t a threat to Live concert culture, rather they are complementary to one another. Like hand in glove, like Quality and BTS, and SHINee and magic! Until we meet next time, stay home and stay safe!
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