- BTS is the highest-paid K-pop group, earning $57 million in pre-tax income in the last year, according to Forbes.
- Most of that fortune comes from their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” world tour, in addition to their album sales and brand deals.
- The group is worth $3.6 billion to South Korea’s economy, contributing to a surge in tourism and increasing the appeal of South Korean products. They’re expected to bring in $37 billion over the next 10 years according to the Hyundai Research Institute.
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: BTS is the biggest name in South Korea right now.
Jimmy Fallon: Please welcome BTS.
Alex Pall: BTS.
Emma Stone: BTS.
Stephen Colbert: BTS.
James Corden: BTS.
Narrator: BTS is the first group to have three No. 1 albums in a year since The Beatles. And their music video for “Boy With Luv” smashed the record for the most watched YouTube video in 24 hours when it was released in April 2019. Forbes listed the group on its Celebrity 100 list of the world’s highest-paid entertainers of 2019. Ranked at No. 43, they earned $57 million in pre-tax income in the last year. A majority of those earnings came from their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” world tour, which grossed $44 million from just six US stadium shows. And that is only part of their fortune. Here’s how the members of BTS make and spend their money.
BTS amassed their fortune through their music, album sales, concerts, merchandise, and brand deals. Their April 2019 album, “Map of the Soul: Persona,” sold nearly 3.4 million copies within a month and set a record high in South Korea. They’ve also landed endorsement deals and partnerships with brands like Coca-Cola, Hyundai, and Puma. The group seems to turn anything they touch into a major success. In 2018, Hyundai made them global brand ambassadors for its new Palisade SUV. BTS released two concert films that also contributed to their cash flow. Their 2018 movie, “Burn the Stage,” grossed over $20 million worldwide. And their most recent film, “Love Yourself in Seoul,” brought in over $10 million during its January 2019 release.
BTS is worth over $3.6 billion a year to South Korea’s economy. They increased South Korea’s popularity, contributing to a surge in tourism. An estimated 800,000 tourists reportedly chose South Korea as their travel destination because of BTS. Their popularity also boosted the appeal of South Korean products, such as clothes, cosmetics, and food. EBay in particular saw an increase in merchandise sales thanks to BTS. EBay Korea said in April 2019 that sales had risen by more than 50% since the previous April. The country now has at least a billion dollars’ worth of consumer exports associated with BTS. And they’re projected to bring in an economic value of $37 billion over the next 10 years. Talk about being a national treasure.
K-pop isn’t new to the world. Back in the late 2000s, before BTS debuted, many groups were slowly paving the way for the genre’s growing popularity. BTS was formed by a company called Big Hit Entertainment. But in 2007, Big Hit almost went bankrupt. CEO Bang Si-hyuk managed to keep the company afloat with the success of previous K-pop groups he had managed. He formed BTS in 2010, and the group officially debuted in 2013. Because BTS struggled with media exposure in South Korea, they took a nontraditional marketing approach by connecting with their fans through social media, and they slowly built up a dedicated fan base known as the ARMY. Bang attributes BTS’ success to the connection they share with their fans. This led to sold-out concerts, record sales, and being the world’s most tweeted-about celebrities. Thanks to BTS, Big Hit Entertainment is worth an estimated $2 billion. And Bang alone is worth $770 million. With his current fortune, Bang rented a $6.5 million mansion for BTS in Hannam the Hill, one of the most expensive complexes in South Korea.
But how do the members of K-pop’s richest band spend their money? Although they share a mansion, some of them still have their own apartments. Jin reportedly spent $1.7 million in cash on his apartment at Hannam the Hill. J-Hope and Jungkook also bought apartments in the Seoul Forest Trimage, known as one of the most luxurious apartments in Seoul. J-Hope bought his for a reported $1.6 million back in 2016, while Jungkook reportedly spent $1.74 million in cash when he purchased his unit in late 2018. Suga also bought a $3 million apartment in the Hannam district around the end of 2018.
The boys are also known for their bold fashion and style. While it’s common for celebrities to land sponsorships with luxury brands, BTS reportedly doesn’t accept these kinds of deals, instead choosing the brands they actually want to wear. Some of their favorite luxury pieces come from Supreme, Gucci, Givenchy, and Mastermind, each ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. In addition to luxury living, some of the members have exotic pets. Jin currently has a leucistic sugar glider named Gukmul, which translates to “soup.” Sugar gliders can cost anywhere between $100 to $5,000, and leucistic sugar gliders typically cost between $1,500 and $2,500. The other members have more common household pets. V owns the most pets in the group. He has four dogs and one cat. While he hasn’t confirmed the breeds of his pets, fans speculate he has a teacup Pomeranian, a Korean Jindo, and a chinchilla Persian cat, all the expensive breeds. Suga also has a toy poodle named Holly. Toy poodles can cost thousands of dollars, depending on gender and coat.
Although they have a lavish lifestyle, the BTS members are known for their humble personalities and don’t publicly flaunt their fortunes. The members have donated to many charities, including food banks, animal shelters, and children’s medical funds. And in 2017, they partnered with UNICEF to launch the Love Myself campaign, which is aimed at promoting self-confidence and ending violence. The campaign has raised over $1.4 million worldwide. And in September 2018, BTS became the first K-pop group to address the United Nations.