On Nov. 30, Billboard revealed that BTS’ newest single “Life Goes On” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This followed the news that the Korean septet’s album BE debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and occurred only days after BTS were nominated for their first Grammy Award.
Being BTS, their new No. 1 ranking does not just mean that “Life Goes On” debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It means that with the ranking, BTS brought in a slew of other records and accomplishments.
BTS’ song ‘Life Goes On’ debuted at No. 1
BTS released “Life Goes On” with their new album BE on Nov. 20. By ranking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its first week, it is BTS’ third No. 1 song in history, their third No. 1 song of 2020, and their third No. 1 song in the span of just three months. Yeah, the last few months have been really good for BTS in terms of Billboard charts.
They previously made history when “Dynamite” (released on Aug. 21) debuted at No. 1 on the chart. With this, BTS became the first all-South Korean group to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100. “Dynamite” ended up spending a total of three weeks at No. 1, and BTS once again reached No. 1 with a remix of Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo’s “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat).”
What else the group accomplished with ‘Life Goes On’
According to Billboard, “‘Life Goes On’ drew 14.9 million U.S. streams and sold 150,000 in the week ending Nov. 26, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It also earned 410,000 radio airplay audience impressions in the week ending Nov. 29.”
Of course, being BTS, the debut of “Life Goes On” on the Billboard Hot 100 comes with a long list of accomplishments.
Billboard reports that the song is the first song in history to be sung mostly in Korean and rank No. 1 on the chart. Not only this, it is the first non-English-language song to ever debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100.
After achieving three No. 1 songs in three months (Sept. 5-Dec. 5-dated charts, per Billboard), the Korean band achieved “the fastest accumulation of three Hot 100 No. 1s in over 42 years since the Bee Gees tripled up over two months and three weeks.”
With “Dynamite,” “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat),” and “Life Goes On,” the septet also “landed its first three No. 1s more quickly than any act since The Beatles” in 1964.
A breakdown of the significance of BTS’ ‘Life Goes On’ No. 1
When “Dynamite” debuted at No. 1, the song received massive support from radio, in large part because the lyrics are in English. Billboard reported that in its first week, “Dynamite” achieved “11.6 million radio airplay audience impressions.”
Comparatively, BTS only earned “410,000 radio airplay audience impressions” with “Life Goes On.” According to Billboard, the most “Life Goes On” was ever played by one radio station was 13 times.
Now, BTS have done what just a few months ago seemed like a far-off dream. Without radio support and with less promotion than “Dynamite,” BTS debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with a single of their own with Korean lyrics.
Hitting No. 1 on the Hot 100 is no longer a dream for BTS, it is the norm. In less than a year, the band managed to crash through the remainder of the barriers the western music industry had put up. With “Life Goes On,” BTS proved they don’t need radio to achieve their goals.
One might wonder how BTS’ momentum could possibly be stopped if they have slowly been dismantling the gatekeepers in their way. “Life Goes On” shows that the answer is they won’t be stopped. They will simply keep pushing until they have achieved what they wanted.