By Chang Dong-woo
SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- K-pop group BTS has taken the music industry by storm again, with its latest single debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart on Tuesday, making the band the first South Korean artist to achieve the landmark feat.
Now with that accomplishment out of the way, along with bagging Best Pop and three other awards at the MTV Video Music Awards in the same week, the conversation and predictions surrounding BTS have naturally shifted toward whether or not the band will finally become the first South Korean pop artist to receive a nomination from the Grammy Awards in the United States.
When it comes to the Grammys, BTS is actually no stranger to the annual ceremony run by the Recording Academy of the U.S., which recognizes achievements in the music industry. The band has made appearances twice at the event, as an award presenter in 2019 and as an onstage performer at the 62nd event held in January, where the K-pop septet appeared alongside rapper Lil Nas X for a joint performance.
The seven band members and Big Hit Entertainment chief producer Bang Si-hyuk have even been invited by the Recording Academy to become its voting members, allowing them to cast votes starting this year.
Despite the band's wide-reaching global influence and staggering album sales, not just around the world but also in the U.S., BTS has not once received a nomination by the Recording Academy, which has been seen as a glaring snub for a band that matched the Beatles in earning three No. 1 Billboard 200 albums in a single year.
The conspicuous absence of BTS each year from the nomination list has prompted an annual guessing game among K-pop observers and journalists on whether the Grammys -- considered the most conservative among major U.S. music awards show -- would finally open its doors and recognize the artistic merits of pop music that isn't sung in English.
With the summer music release calendar at a close and Grammy prediction season in full swing, predictions on whether BTS will receive a nod from the Grammys are once again being made.
Whether it happens remains to be seen, but the chances of a nomination this time seem as likely as ever, as it would be harder for the Recording Academy to continue to ignore BTS after the band proved its wide-reaching popularity among the general American public with "Dynamite."
The online edition of American business magazine Forbes predicted Monday (U.S. time) that BTS studio album "Map of the Soul: 7," the highest-selling album in the U.S. during the first half, could possibly receive a nomination this year.
"The former chart-topper is one of the bestselling and biggest releases of 2020," Forbes said.
Forbes added, "While the band's new single "Dynamite" isn't featured on its tracklist, the fact that they just landed a historic No. 1 hit should remind voters how beloved and successful they are."
The album's lead track "ON" also made it to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 when released in February of this year.
Jason Lipshutz, senior director at Billboard, noted in a conversation with fellow Billboard writers that "a Grammy win would represent a key acknowledgement from the Recording Academy, which has yet to formally recognize the staying power of K-pop."
BTS is also not shying away from its Grammy ambitions.
"The Grammy Awards is an event that everyone dreams of (being part of). We want to perform solo and, of course, we want to be nominated and possibly win an award," BTS leader RM said during a press conference held Wednesday to mark the No. 1 debut of "Dynamite" on the Hot 100.
Suga shared his desire to perform again at the Grammys.
"We performed at the Grammys in a collaboration. This time we would like to perform as a stand-alone act," the singer-rapper said.
With its newfound exposure within the mainstream music industry in America, BTS has found its footing to be able to clinch another No. 1 hit single on the Hot 100 with relative ease, music critic Kim Young-dae said.
"Until now, the band's popularity has largely been sustained by its fandom. But now the band has arrived at a point where its music is starting to spread within the general public in America," Kim noted, adding that "I think it's possible" for BTS to achieve another No. 1 song.
K-pop agencies scale up to build bigger IP, platform empires
Anger mounts over deepfake porn targeting Korean female celebs; more than 330,000 sign petition
Will K-pop finally get a Grammy nod this year?
BTS agency in spotlight as big stock market debut nears
BTS' big win reignites debate on military service of K-pop stars