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K-Pop Beyond BTS: Scholars from around the world share their studies on BTS in Seoul Updated: 2019-12-12 09:31:53 KST

The seminar was held Wednesday in Seoul under the title "K-pop Beyond BTS: Media, Technology, Creative Industries and Fandom Culture."

"17 Scholars shared their studies on BTS and discussed the cultural phenomenon as well as the boy band's massive global appeal."

Professor Michelle Cho from the University of Toronto talked about what she calls vicarious media, which is one way BTS was able to build such a huge following worldwide.
Vicarious media refers to the ways BTS and their fans relate to each other in a variety of different video forms, including fan reaction and choreography videos.
She said it's their exposure of their so-called "real lives" and personalities that truly hooks the fans.

"The group is very eloquent in discussing what makes them different and what made their fandom possible and the group leader RM talked about it in terms of real-life contents. It's this idea of sharing real life experiences and feelings and interests that really makes the global ARMY possible."

Cho also said the group really seems to understand that their fans come from everywhere, so they make their content very accessible so global fans can find an entry point.
Another speaker, Lu Tian from Hong Kong Baptist University, introduced the phenomenon called 'Bangtan Tour' through which fans, as part of the so-called BTS Army, are changing the tourism industry. She said that South Korean state and local municipalities are commodifying and promoting the places in Korea they visit while following in the band's footsteps.

"Before coming to Korea, they have saved in their mobile phones a lot of location information associated with BTS such as the music video shooting locations, restaurant, parks, and the museums that members have been to."

A professor from Simon Fraser University highlighted that the global appeal of BTS is not only created by the circulation of content and products across borders but also by the affective affinity and identity that BTS has shown through their sincere messages about dreams, youth and self-realization.
Eum Ji-young Arirang News.
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