BTS lands 3rd No. 1 album in less than a year
With its latest EP, “Map of the Soul: Persona,” Korean pop group BTS has matched a chart feat last reached by another foreign-born boy band: the Beatles.
The seven-song “Map of the Soul: Persona” (Big Hit), sung mostly in Korean, opened at No. 1 on the latest Billboard album chart, with the equivalent of 230,000 sales in the United States, including 196,000 copies sold as a full album and 37 million streams, according to Nielsen. Those 196,000 full-album sales – a robust number these days, when some chart-toppers fail to crack 500 – were helped by a canny strategy of selling four collector versions on CD, with variant packaging.
“Map of the Soul: Persona” is BTS’ third No. 1 in less than a year, after “Love Yourself: Answer” in September and “Love Yourself: Tear” in May, when BTS became the first K-pop act to land a No. 1 album in the United States. According to Billboard, the Beatles were the last group with three top sellers in such quick succession, with its three “Anthology” volumes, in 1995 and 1996.
BTS, which performed on “Saturday Night Live” two weeks ago, is the most visible of a new wave of K-pop bands – Blackpink, a girl group, just made a splash at Coachella – and has managed to cross over with clever music videos and guest appearances by Western stars like Halsey, who sings in Korean on the song “Boy With Luv.”