Journalist Who Attributed BTS’s Billboard Chart Success To Manipulation Gives Update
Tom Breihan, a senior editor at Stereogum, has released an update for his controversial article about BTS.
Last week, the article in question, “BTS And Their Fan Army Are Rendering The Pop Charts Useless,” was met with backlash. In it, Breihan examined BTS’s rise on the Billboard Charts, beginning with the 2020 GRAMMY-nominated English single, “Dynamite” and ending with their new hit “Butter.”
Although Breihan acknowledged BTS’s musical talent, he felt that fans’ organized efforts to boost BTS’s chart rankings made the charts less accurate overall.
…But it’s frustrating to see a phenomenon like this inflating the stats, obliterating any sense of accuracy in how we keep these records. [. . . ] Organic popularity, once the driving force behind pop music, barely feels like it exists anymore. Instead, the pop charts are turning into a battlefield for warring stan armies.
Fans and journalists weighed in, disputing Breihan’s claims with counterarguments about what makes music rightfully, organically popular.
i have lots of thoughts about that silly stereogum piece, but one i'll share now is that the writer admits he is loyal to the way the billboard charts have always worked and is unskeptical of the broken system that has determined what things get "organically popular" in the U.S.
— lenika ???????? (@lenikacruz) June 2, 2021
Today, Breihan added follow-up tweets to his post, stating that he was “wrong” to frame the article in a way that painted the Billboard Charts as “sacrosanct.”
He stated that, traditionally, chart manipulation happens at the hands of an artist’s label, but it is “fans doing the manipulation,” in BTS’s case.
Although he acknowledged that BTS chart achievements are “kind of inspiring,” he also feels that “Butter” is a “bad song.”
Despite the criticism he has received for both his article and his follow-up tweets, Breihan has not changed the opinions he expressed in the article. Rather, Breihan has stated that he is not in a position to determine which songs should rank at No.1. “I was wrong,” he said, in his last tweet on the matter. “Good job, BTS.”