BTS lands 3rd No. 1 al­bum in less than a year

The Tribune (SLO) - - Espresso -

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.”

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