This Brilliant Strategy Propelled BTS to No. 1 with “Life Goes On”

BTS at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.
BTS at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo Courtesy of MTV/ViacomCBS/Shutterstock (10761136w)

If you need another proof that BTS is the unstoppable force, here it is—they topped the Billboard Hot 100 this week with “Life Goes On”, with virtually no radio play. What’s the secret of their success and how did this non-English song manage to become a chart-topping hit in the US?

“Life Goes On” was released as the main single from their new album Be, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week. They both came out on November 20, but radio airplay has been minimal since it’s sung mostly in Korean, unlike the K-pop group’s previous single “Dynamite”.

“Life Goes On” is the first song sung in Korean to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100 and its instant success might seem puzzling if you’re not familiar with BTS. Their strongest suit is their loyal fan base, known as the Army, who are constantly helping this K-pop group reach for the stars through their streaming efforts.

BTS’ marketing strategy for “Life Goes On” also deserves some credit since it’s pretty brilliant. In addition to dropping the official music video, they also shared several alternative visuals. They also performed the song at the American Music Awards and delivered two more amazing performances on Good Morning America and on The Late Late Show with James Corden that impressed us with their production value and sparked even more interest for this song.