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BTS' Idol Breaks Taylor Swift's YouTube Most Viewed MV in 24 Hours

Updated on October 20, 2019
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Fairlane is a devout Asian entertainment fan. On the side, she is a professional screenwriter and author.

UPDATE: At a little past 5PM, August 27 PST, YouTube confirmed that BTS' Idol set a new record with the most valid views of all Music Videos in the first 24 hours with more than 45 millions views. The confirmation was done through YouTube's official Twitter account. Screenshot is below.

UPDATE: as of 6:51PM August 25 Los Angeles CA, YouTube view counts started moving again after being frozen at 61,839,689 for more than 10 hours. The view count didn't get shave. It was just frozen before moving up again. As per YouTube's official site, they freeze video counts if they need to verify the legitimacy of the views. You can check their OFFICIAL STATEMENT here. The mere fact they didn't started counting the views again means they are done verifying the views.

If you don’t know who BTS is, you need a refresher course in Pop Culture 101. The 7-member boyband from South Korea, Jin, Suga, Jhope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, dropped their MV yesterday, August 24 2am PST (4pm Korean time), for Idol. Idol is the carrier single of their latest album, Love Yourself: Answer. Idol is also what Koreans call pop singers.

Screencaps showed almost 51M views before the 20th hour beating Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do which held on to the record for exactly one year with 43.2 Million views.

This feat will put BTS twice on the top 10 map of most viewed official MVs list with their single Fake Love.

Screenshot of Idol video on YouTube taken at 11:54PM August 24, Los Angles CA
Screenshot of Idol video on YouTube taken at 11:54PM August 24, Los Angles CA
Another screenshot of the video taken before 2AM, August 25, Los Angeles, California
Another screenshot of the video taken before 2AM, August 25, Los Angeles, California
A screencap of YouTube's announcement of BTS' new record via its Twitter account
A screencap of YouTube's announcement of BTS' new record via its Twitter account

YouTube Shaving Views

It has to be noted that YouTube is known for shaving views after its system’s bots clean up IPs. This process includes tracking IPs to determine if these IPs plays the video over and over again for the sole purpose of racking up views for a certain video. YouTube wants unique and legitimate views to count.

It also has to be noted that YouTube very rarely release any official statement about video counts. They cooperate with established institutions and media outlets.

"A YouTube Representative"

Competition among fandoms is fierce. It actually leads to legitimate bullying and some time in the past, fist fights. When BTS released Fake Love, they recorded 40 million views before their 24th hour hit.

Several social media posters and one particular digital news site stated that they spoke to a YouTube Represenative and YouTube Representative said BTS only had 35 million views after their bots cleaned up the view count.

The alleged "YouTube representative" never had a name and no one questioned the writer about when the interview was conducted or if there was any evidence the exchange of information ever happened.

It's is an old trick for people to claim they interviewed a credible source or official representative to gain legitimacy of a statement they cannot prove. To this day, the alleged "YouTube representative" is not named. There is also no link to any of YouTube official properties such as blog, the actual website, and official statements by the company stating the claim is legitimate or the interview actually happened.

There isn’t even an evidence that the views were shaved off except for some social media posts but accounts that don’t link to verifiable identities.

You can expect a whole lot of people will claim the same thing.

As an additional tip, YouTube does release official view counts of the most viewed videos but does in periodically. Last year, they released the “Top Trending Videos of 2017”. You can check the post in their official blog.

Official MV of BTS' Idol

Is YouTube Views Relevant as a Measure of Success

It is relevant but it is not the be-all and end-all of one’s measure of success. That is why you don’t hear Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Eminem, Shawn Mendes, and other artists talk about YouTube view counts the way they would about winning Grammy, AMA, and Billboard awards. There is still a lot to be done to ensure that each view YouTube counts is legitimate. It has improved a lot but it is not perfect.

BTS’ entrance to the US’ mainstream music industry puts them in the same league as other western musicians. They have proven their pull and their power to ignite the purchasing power of their fans. They are now starting to get measured with the same stick as other mainstream musicians in the U.S.

BTS (L-R) Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, Jhope, V, Suga
BTS (L-R) Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, Jhope, V, Suga

What does BTS have to say about it

BTS has never initiated a discussion or statement about their YouTube views. They celebrate milestones on their Twitter followers which may be credited to a tradition they unconsciously started when they were young and excited about getting noticed. Suga stated that if they reach 10,000 Twitter subscribers, he will post a photo of Jimin’s abs. He did.

Eventually, Jhope carried on the tradition by celebrating each time they gain a million subscribers by posting memes mostly of himself on their twitter page. They now have 16 million subscribers. You can see some of his memes below. They also celebrate their Vlive subscriber count milestones but this is initiated by Vlive.

Big Hit’s founding member, Si Hyuk Bang, stated in a broadcasted interview that BTS is not concerned about records because it doesn’t only put unnecessary pressure on themselves but also on their fans who are known for always trying help BTS achieve their goals. Bang stated that he constantly reminds BTS that they should just continue writing music and performing because that’s why they started this journey in the first place.

It is safe to say that although they greatly value milestones like this, it is more important for BTS to make music and perform.

One of the memes Jhope created to celebrate gaining another million followers on their official Twitter account.
One of the memes Jhope created to celebrate gaining another million followers on their official Twitter account.

Visual Narrative

If at all, YouTube serves to showcase BTS visual melody. BTS is known for their narrative saga. Since their launch in 2013, they launch albums in series. Each series usually has three parts and runs from anywhere between a year to two years. Aside from their carrier single, several other songs get a music video. They also release highlight reels or special videos. All these videos run a story like a TV series would that culminates with a highlight reel that ties in loose ends and provides closure… almost.

What is even more worth noting is how all their videos, from the time they debuted five years ago, seem to run a more grand storyline.

The story keeps on progressing which keeps the audience engaged. It has created a sub culture within the fandom that is connected but isolated from the main one. While most Korean fandoms are known for highlighting the idol’s good looks and fashion, the visual narrative of BTS created an almost cerebral section. These fans look for visual and audio clues in the videos and interpret the story and how it connects to other stories.

BTS implied, but never directly stated, that they don’t participate in the writing of the narrative but lightly participate in the visual direction. The visual narrative may be credited to their management company and just how much intelligence come into building the band’s reputation.

BTS Love Yourself Highlight Reel


There is no lack of hollywood A-listers that have requested collaborations with BTS, the most prominent of which is Shawn Mendes. He stated that he has been waiting for when he can come to the studio with BTS to write and make a song. It hasn’t happened yet. This has sent many fans in a state of confusion as to why Big Hit will delay such a request from an undeniable music superstar. Big Hit is yet to release a formal statement about it. Mendes, however, promised that it will happen.

They, however, collaborate with certain artists that don’t necessarily share the same market as they do such as Wale, Steve Aoki and, most recently, Nicki Minaj. It is not clear who initiated their collaboration with Aoki but it created one of their most successful US single, Mic Drop.

It was, however, BTS (not Big Hit) that initiated their collaboration with Nicki Minaj. BTS was the one that raised the idea of giving the song to Minaj because it would fit her. Big Hit reached out and Minaj accepted. Reaction on the collaboration is mixed with many fans expressing concern why BTS with collaborate with Minaj who seems to appeal to a different market.

BTS seems to look into their material first and then go for artists that will fit the style rather than look at an artist and then create something that would fit the artist. This is a theory because neither Big Hit nor BTS has ever commented on why and how they do collaborations.

BTS Founder, Si Hyuk Bang, stated BTS' primary goal is to create music


As of presstime, BTS’ Idol views has been stuck to 61M and it can take up to 24 hours for YouTube to shave views off or honor the current view count.

In the meantime, BTS just kicked off their tour in Seoul and will have a stadium concert in Citifield, New York, the first Kpop act to achieve the feat. They will also have Grammy night on September 11. Tickets will go on sale on August 30 for $25 each.

Regardless of YouTube’s decision, BTS is moving forward to bigger things. So, should the fans.

What is your favorite track in Love Yourself: Answer

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