Did HYBE Choose the right BTS Member for Global Success?

In the second phase of BTS’s journey, each member ventured into solo projects. However, there was a noticeable disparity in attention from their company. Jungkook, the last member to release a solo album, received the most focus. His promotional activities began before the release of his debut single “Seven” in July, continued through his album release in November, and ended just before his enlistment in mid-December.

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This overshadowed the release of another member’s solo project, which occurred during Jungkook’s six-month-long promotional period.

Despite having some of the biggest kpop groups, such as New Jeans, TXT, and Seventeen, Hybe is well aware they may never achieve the same level of global stardom that BTS has reached. With the expiration date of boy bands looming, discussions in HYBE’s meeting rooms must have been intense. To maintain their mainstream global status, they needed to adopt the Western boy band model, where one member typically rises above the rest.

Choosing which member to focus on was likely not difficult. Meeting demand is crucial for businesses, and what HYBE’s existing audience, Army, wants is Jungkook. So, Bang PD-nim and Scooter Brown teamed up to create a project aimed at making Jungkook the next Justin Bieber. They released TikTok-style songs designed to be catchy and memorable with just one listen, such as “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,” along with consistent promotions, discounted albums, physical singles, and strategically released remixes to keep Jungkook on the charts.

Months later, the plan appears to have been successful. But, how much of his success is manufactured? If he was given the same tools as the other members, would he have achieved those same numbers? If every member was given the same means as him, would another member have done better?

While Jungkook’s songs have performed well on the charts and spent multiple weeks on Billboard thanks to extensive playlist reach, most of his streams come from Asian countries. He has three songs charting on Spotify, but none of them on US Spotify, despite multiple remixes and collaborations with huge stars, and multiple appearances on big US stages. 

With a member recently bagging a big US radio award without even setting foot in the US during his short promo, is logical to ask: was Jungkook the right choice?

What if the member more known by the general public, rather than the member more loved by the existing audience, was given promotion in the States? Would now HYBE be living an American dream made in the USA rather than Thailand?