K-pop titan BTS's online concert draws more than 100 million fans
From Hyonhee Shin and Soohyun Mah
SEOUL (Reuters) - More than 100 million fans of BTS saw an online concert by the K-pop boy band on Saturday with their signature glow sticks and exchanging messages in a chat room.
The virtual event, titled "Map of The Soul ON: E," came after the group of seven abandoned their original plan to hold a personal show for a limited audience, in line with the South Korean government's tightened social distancing limits. The band had already canceled planned world tours.
Up to 114 million fans watched the concert, fueled by the success of "Dynamite," BTS 'first song entirely in English that topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart last month.
"You are not here, but I feel you here, like I can hear your singing, and next time we are really here together," singer V or Kim Tae-hyung told fans.
Since its debut in 2013, BTS has sparked a worldwide K-pop craze with catchy, upbeat music and dances, as well as lyrics and social campaigns to empower young people.
As the band performed, a wall of small screens showed thousands of fans from around the world, many of whom were known as "Army Bombs". A chat room has been opened so fans can post comments at the same time.
In Seoul, a small group gathered in a fan-run BTS-themed cafe to watch the concert together, despite wearing masks and keeping their distance.
"Her songs comforted me during these difficult times and made me a fan," said An Ji-won, 40, after breaking into tears while watching the show.
"They sing to say everything will be fine and to cheer up, which is why I think all the fans around the world love them."
(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Soohyun Mah; Additional reporting by Dogyun Kim; Editing by Ros Russell)
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