BTS and how to use a VPN to push your favourite pop group up the charts

Pop Music

Have you ever heard of BTS? If not, then you are presumably not a fan of K-Pop, the Korean Pop Music scene which attracts legions of adulating fans from across South-East Asia and beyond.

Yes, there is a lot more to Korean pop music than just Gangnam Style. It is massive scene and one of South Korea’s biggest exports. And right now, BTS are the kings of the K-Pop castle.

But as well as producing some annoyingly catchy pop songs as well as some of Asia’s biggest heart-throbs, K-Pop has also spawned one of the most innovative uses of a VPN we have come across to date.

BTS Billboard Success 

BTS is a seven-member South Korean boyband also known as the Bangtan Boys. They are a manufactured pop group who first emerged in 2013 and made a commercial breakthrough in 2015.

The majority of their success has been in South Korea and Japan, although BTS have had a couple of small successes in the USA too. Their albums The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever both snuck into the Billboard 200, the US album charts.

For a K-Pop Group that is an impressive achievement in itself, but this weekend they blew that out of the water. BTS ended last week at number 2 in the Billboard Artist 100 charts, a new record high placing for a K-Pop act.

So, how has this remarkable feat ben achieved? Well, a bit of research suggests that it is all down to social media and VPNs.

The #BTSArmy

One of the reason’s BTS has managed to become such a phenomenon in South Korea and South-East Asia is thanks to its huge success on social media.

They have a massive social media presence, and this has been recognized beyond South-East Asia. In March 2016, Forbes listed them as the most retweeted artist on Twitter for that month, ahead of such names as Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Harry Styles from One Direction.

They have also topped the Billboard Social 50 chart, which ranks the most active global artists on social media.

In 2017, it was revealed that BTS had been liked or retweeted more than half a billion times during the course of that year. That’s more than Justin Bieber and Donald Trump combined! This astonishing level of social media success is down to their huge online fan base which refers to itself as the #BTSArmy.

And the #BTSArmy is organised, passionate, and committed to promoting BTS in any way they can. Getting to the top of the charts in the USA is seen by many music acts as the pinnacle of chart achievement. And the #BTSArmy appear to have been determined that their group should get there.

Using a VPN to achieve chart success

They have therefore made a concerted effort to use streaming to achieve this. This year, the Billboard charts have adjusted the weighting given to subscription streaming services. Both subscription audio streams and ad-supported audio streams now count towards chart placements.

The #BTSArmy were clearly aware of this and at some point (my Korean isn’t good enough to be able to ascertain where) they decided to work together to use this change to push BTS up the Billboard Charts.

But, there was a problem. Most of the #BTSArmy are based in South Korea, Japan, and other parts of South-East Asia. But to count towards the Billboard charts, streams had to take place in the USA.

This is where VPNs came in. A search of Twitter will reveal countless tweets advising the #BTSArmy to use a VPN to switch their IP Address to a US-based one and then stream their songs.

By using a VPN, such as IPVanish or ExpressVPN, #BTSArmy fans are able to fool streaming services into thinking they are in the US by changing their IP Address. This means that they are able to help their band move up the US Charts even though they are not actually in the USA.

Beyond BTS

BTS are not alone in using this technique. Other K-Pop bands such as GOT7 have also tried the same technique. And there is no reason why such an approach couldn’t work for British bands too.

Chart campaigns are pretty common here too. For example, after the death of George Michael in 2017, there was a concerted effort to get his band Wham’s song Last Christmas to the top of the charts.

By using a VPN, it is possible for fans around the world to support such campaigns. The #BTSArmy has proved that VPNs can be used to get your favourite band to the top of the charts.

Author: David Spencer

Cyber-security & Technology Reporter, David, monitors everything going on in the privacy world. Fighting for a less restricted internet as a member of the VPNCompare team for over 7 years.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading and politics. He is currently learning Mandarin too... slowly.


  1. I Dont Lie

    Have u asked yourself whether or not you are a REAL journalist, the ones that write articles to share the TRUTH to your readers? And to make sure that we write the TRUTH, one need to make sure that they made a good research about things. So question is, did u do a good research before writing this? Billboard FILTER OUT Vpns but I’m pretty sure you have ZERO knowledge regarding this that you are able to publish such a L I E in your writing? Well unless you dont care about spreading lies 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment. If you can send over some verified source to show that billboard filter out VPNs then we will gladly update the article. Cheers.

      • You mom

        But you also dont have any source to verified or support this article. The writer just try to use BTS and GOT7 for clout. I’m done with this.

        • The countless tweets and discussion on Twitter urging fans to use a VPN at the time the article was written is proof enough that there was mass uptake of such tactics to push such groups up the charts in countries they weren’t popular in at that tikme.

  2. Tricia

    You can contact Billboard. Many fans were using VPN before we found out that it is filtered out of Billboard. Maybe some fans still use it for iTunes, since they do not filter them out, but US ARMYs are very proud of our organization in buying BTS’ music to help them chart. I mean, we sold out Citified in less than 15 minutes, to where the venue wanted to do another date because so many US ARMYs didn’t get tickets. BTS will sell out stadiums all across the US next year, they could’ve done it this year if the promoters didn’t doubt their fandom size. They have a huge US fanbase so much as to where we don’t have to rely on our non-US ARMYs to help us. We don’t use VPN for Billboard charts.

    • It’s impossible for any system to 100% filter VPNs. Just as Netflix doesn’t block all VPNs, but does block some. Aside from some random posting on Twitter there is nothing to suggest that Billboard does indeed filter VPNs. However, BTS has definitely grown across the US and world since this article was written.

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