BTS's Dynamite sales strategy will give them a Hot 100 boost -- and help them steer clear of Billboard's new chart rule change
BTS will release their highly anticipated new single “Dynamite” in less than two weeks, and while it’s still too early to make any concrete predictions about its Billboard Hot 100 debut, here’s a crude forecast: It’s going to be huge.
The “Dynamite” promo campaign is in full swing, with Columbia Records chartering tour buses across the United States last week to preview the song for radio programmers and encourage them to play it when it premieres on every major U.S. radio chain on Aug. 21. Digital pre-release metrics look promising as well, with Spotify pre-saves exceeding 500,000 as of last week and limited edition vinyl and cassettes on the “Dynamite” webstore selling out almost instantly on two separate occasions.
Traditional sales—that is, physical purchases and digital downloads—have always been BTS’s bread and butter, and that trend is sure to continue with “Dynamite.” It also insulates BTS against a change in Billboard’s chart methodology that went into effect last Friday.
Last month, Billboard announced several changes to its chart rules, most notably the decision to stop counting albums bundled with merchandise and concert tickets on its song and album charts. That change goes into effect in October, but last week, a lesser-known change also went into effect: Billboard will no longer count physical albums or singles bundled with digital downloads as digital sales. Instead, they will be counted as physical sales upon shipment of the physical album or single.
This rule change will ostensibly prevent artists from selling “spontaneous” album or single bundles in a last-ditch attempt to juice their first-week sales, and much like Billboard’s new merch/ticket bundle rule, it could upset promotional strategies for a slew of major pop stars. In recent months, several artists—including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, 6ix9ine and, most recently, Taylor Swift—have utilized this practice, releasing numerous physical versions of their singles and albums to help them vault to No. 1. The accompanying digital download would count toward the charts, while the physical product wouldn’t ship for several weeks, or even months.
Shipping delays are to be expected amid a pandemic, but it’s been clear for a while now that artists have increasingly abused this practice in order to rack up more first-week sales. From now on, if artists are going to climb the charts off the strength of their physical sales, they’ll have to put more forethought and intentionality into their packaging and promotion.
BTS has been doing that for years, and they will continue to do so with “Dynamite.”
The “Dynamite” vinyl and cassettes will both “be dispatched in line with the release date,” per the band’s website. That ensures sales of both products will count toward the song’s first-week chart performance. Unlike singles from many pop stars, these products are not bundled with digital downloads; BTS is also selling a regular and instrumental MP3 of “Dynamite” for $0.69 apiece.
By opting not to bundle these items, BTS steers clear of Billboard’s new chart rule change altogether and all but ensures they double—if not triple or quadruple—their “Dynamite” first-week sales. Fans snapped up the vinyl and cassettes to add to their collection, and they’ll purchase the digital download to hear it immediately upon release. (They can also stream the song, of course, but that’s not to say they won’t still download the track.) This strategy rightly puts faith in BTS fans’ willingness to buy multiple versions of “Dynamite,” and when the data comes in, the first-week sales for the group’s first English-language single should be massive.
BTS scores record-extending 22nd no. 1 on World Digital Song Sales Chart
BTS scores its record-extending 22nd career No. 1 on Billboard's World Digital Song Sales chart, as "My Time" jumps from No. 15 to the top of the list dated Aug. 15.
The single surged by 733% to 3,000 downloads sold in the tracking week ending Aug. 6, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, as fans rallied around the song as an early present for BTS member Jungkook, whose birthday is Sept. 1.
"My Time" appears on the group's LP Map of the Soul: 7, which debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart in March and has spent total 19 weeks at No. 1 on World Albums.
BTS extends its record for the most World Digital Song Sales leaders among all artists, dating to the chart's 2010 inception. Blackpink follows with six.
Here's a chronological look at all 22 BTS No. 1s on World Digital Song Sales:
Title, Peak Date
"Fire," May 21, 2016
"Blood Sweat & Tears," Oct. 29, 2016
"Spring Day," March 4, 2017
"Not Today," March 11, 2017
"DNA," Oct. 7, 2017
"Mic Drop," feat. Desiigner, Dec. 16, 2017
"Don't Leave Me," April 14, 2018
"Fake Love," June 2, 2018
"Idol," feat. Nicki Minaj, Sept. 8, 2018
"2! 3!," Nov. 24, 2018
"Boy With Luv," feat. Halsey, April 27, 2019
"Dream Glow," with Charli XCX, June 22, 2019
"A Brand New Day," with Zara Larsson, June 29, 2019
"All Night," with Juice WRLD, July 6, 2019
"Heartbeat," July 13, 2019
"Lights," July 20, 2019
"Make It Right," feat. Lauv, Nov. 2, 2019
"Black Swan" Feb. 1, 2020
"On," March 7, 2020
"Stay Gold," July 4, 2020
"Your Eyes Tell," July 25, 2020
"My Time," Aug. 15, 2020
BTS first ruled World Digital Song Sales with "Fire" in May 2016, followed by "Blood Sweat & Tears" that October. The group then notched four No. 1s in both 2017 and 2018, seven in 2019 and now five so far in 2020.
On the World Albums chart, BTS charts seven titles. Map of the Soul: 7 leads at No. 2, followed by Love Yourself: Answer (No. 3), Map of the Soul: Persona (No. 5), Love Yourself: Tear (No. 9), Map of the Soul: 7 – The Journey (No. 11), BTS World soundtrack (No. 14) and Love Yourself: Her (No. 15; re-entry).
IS THAT A TUNESQUAD JERSEY I SEE OMGGGG— Looney Tunes (@WBLooneyTunes) August 12, 2020
Source: @BUSgameOfficial, INTHESOOP_TV, @heatworld, @BigHitEnt, BANGTANTV, @choi_bts2 (1, 2), Forbes, hyundai.lifestyle on IG, @bighit_merch, Billboard, @WBLooneyTunes
Get those Downy freebies, Jungkook. Also I was planning on making a summary/bullet points post for the Big Hit Corporate Briefing but idk if it's okay? I have them ready tho in case they are.