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Unveiling the success factors of BTS: a mixed-methods approach

So-Hyun Lee (School of Management, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China)
Soobin Choi (Graduate School of Information, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Hee-Woong Kim (Graduate School of Information, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 15 December 2020

Issue publication date: 1 November 2021




The purpose of this paper is to explore the key success factors behind Bangtan Boys’ (BTS) popularity, and how they can contribute to sustaining it, along with detailed strategies for the success of global pop.


This study adopts a mixed-methods approach that uses text mining and interviews and uses the success of BTS to find the key factors accounting for its sustained popularity. For use in text mining, we collected data related to BTS from social network sites (SNS) and analyzed this data using latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) topic modeling, term frequency analysis and keyword extraction. In addition, we conducted interviews to explore the key factors accounting for the sustained popularity of BTS.


We found ten key success factors—active global fandom, SNS communication, fans' loyalty, empathy through music, storytelling and world view, performance quality, music video quality, overseas expansion at an early stage, efforts for self-development and teamwork among members— for a global pop group's success and sustained popularity.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the literature by finding key factors for success and sustained popularity of a global group through using a mixed-methods approach.

Practical implications

Our results suggest strategies to sustain the popularity of global groups and its potential to benefit across the entertainment industry.


This study is among the first to comprehensively examine the key factors for Korean pop’s (K-pop) sustained popularity by using a mixed-methods approach of text mining and interviews.



The previous version of this paper was presented at the Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS), 2019.


Lee, S.-H., Choi, S. and Kim, H.-W. (2021), "Unveiling the success factors of BTS: a mixed-methods approach", Internet Research, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 1518-1540.



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