BTS break their own world record with almost 1 million viewers for virtual concert, MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E, here's what went down at the show

BTS break their own world record with almost 1 million viewers for virtual concert, MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E, here's what went down at the show

BTS just broke their own World Record for Most viewers for a music concert live stream on a bespoke platform with MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E. The previous record, which they set in June 2020 for BANG BANG CON, stood at 756,000 global viewers.

BE, the new BTS album, drops November 20, here's how to preorder

This year, the K-pop titans had even more fans tuned in, with nearly 1 million viewers from across the globe - 993,000 ticket-holders from 191 countries. This edition's sales clocked in at an estimated $43 million. In lieu of a live audience, hundreds of ARMY Bombs also filled the venue, mimicking the sea of lights the BTS ARMY would hold up at IRL shows. The lightsticks also lit up to form "BTS ARMY" in technicolour. In the virtual space, the show garnered over 100 million ARMY Bomb reactions from fans on Day 1 alone. 

Twitterverse was abuzz over the concert weekend with trending topics ranging from the individual member's names to the concert's official hashtags, #MapOfTheSoulOne_D1 and #MapOfTheSoulOne_D2, as well as "SEND LINK", for people who were looking for other ways to watch the show without a ticket. 

The global superstars' biggest virtual concert (so far) was held at the KSPO Dome in Seoul, South Korea on October 10 and 11 and featured four (4) different stages, as well as AR (augmented reality) and XR (extended reality) technology to enhance each performance. BTS and Big Hit Entertainment reunited with video company Kiswe once more "to push the envelope for what’s possible for virtual concerts in the era of COVID-19 and beyond."

BTS OPEN MAP OF THE SOUL ONLINE POP-UP STORES, WITH SHOWCASES IN SEOUL, SINGAPORE, AND TOKYO

Viewers at home were able to see the shows unfold in 4K and HD resolution, as well as switch between six (6) camera views. Organizers also offered delayed-streaming on the next day of each concert, for fans who missed the first broadcast or ARMYs who wanted the relive the concert again.

Lucky ARMYs were also able to take part in the livestream event - decked in their BTS merch, complete with lightsticks, fan signs, fan chants, and their favourite BT21 characters.

The 23-song setlists stayed consistent for both days, with some variation for the encore selection, as well as outfit changes for the solo performances. (Head to Bangtan Style for their concert lookbooks!)

Performing their solos for the first time ever, each performance showcased intricate and detailed sets from RM's podium and flaming microphone for 'Intro: Persona' to Suga's haunting visuals for 'Shadow', ticking clocks and laser lights for Jungkook's intense performance of 'My Time' to Jimin's sultry 'Filter' and lightning-quick outfit change, The Little Prince-inspired set for Jin's effervescent 'Moon' to V's whimsical carousel for 'Inner Child', plus J-Hope's vibrant 'Outro:Ego'.

Backed by their live band, Ghost, for several songs, the group also had a marching band and dozens of backup dancers - all wearing masks throughout the shows, making sure that the performances complied with COVID-19 precautions.

While it's been a great year for BTS with their first Billboard Hot 100 and English hit, 'Dynamite', another record-breaking music video premiere, an NPR Tiny Desk performance, delivering the closing speech on YouTube's Dear Class of 2020 commencement exercises, a one-week residency on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, four MTV VMAs wins, several Billboard Music Awards nominations, a return to the United Nations to give a message of hope for today's youth, plus a moving speech at the inaugural Youth Day in South Korea -  the group doesn't deny that it's been difficult for them as well. BTS were supposed to go on a massive world tour to promote their latest studio album, Map of the Soul:7, but were forced to cancel because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Jin shared that they were so excited when they received the itinerary for the scheduled world tour and expressed his disappointment in having to cancel the shows. While he felt that it was a shame to just see fans through a screen, he added: "Next time when we meet, it will be two or three times happier." The second day of the concert was initially set to be held in person, but Big Hit Entertainment decided to go with a fully online experience instead, citing "tightened social distancing regulations" in South Korea.

"It'll probably end soon. I'll probably see ARMYs soon," V shared thinking that the situation wouldn't last this long and allow them to go on stage and perform for their fans early into the pandemic. He added how the concert felt like ARMYs were really there and looked forward to making more memories with their fans. "Thank you, and I really purple you! I miss you!"

In an effort to simulate a real concert environment for the artists' onstage experience, the ARMY on Air project allowed BTS to see some of their fans' faces and listen to their deafening screams and cheers - a staple at every BTS concert. In their respective ments, the members shared how happy and grateful they were to see and hear their beloved fans even just through the screens. "I felt thankful that this technology exists and we can see your faces and hear your cheers even from afar," Jungkook said. 

On the first concert day, Jimin expressed his frustration at the world's current state, saying "When COVID-19 became widespread the thing I wanted to do more than anything was perform with the members and hang out with you all and be happy. I don't know why we have to go through this." On Day 2, he shared that he won't cry anymore, that "crying once was enough" and added how thankful he was to hear their voices, "The sound of your voice is what I miss the most, and is the most beautiful and happiest sound to us."

Suga, who shared that he was enduring "a shoulder problem" on opening day, assured everyone that he's okay and extended his thanks to their entire team - everyone who helped make MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E a reality. "I'm thankful for all this technology, that we are able to do a concert like this. As you know, the global concert industry is having a really tough time." Suga encouraged everyone to take care of themselves and promised a grander show for their return.

J-Hope, BTS' eternal ray of sunshine, exclaimed "I feel really good and happy! Thank you so much for all the positive news... including 'Dynamite' and the new album coming out soon." He also went on to send his love and thanks and to share that ARMYs "energy is a huge driving force" for BTS.

BTS leader RM, in his closing ment for Day 1, encouraged fans with "The ARMYs I know, the BTS you all know, we are all strong... We’ll find a way. We always have. If there’s no way, let’s draw the map again. We're strong and we're still connected. Let's not doubt ourselves, let's believe in ourselves."

His message resonated with thousands of fans, including Tony Award-winning singer and actress (as well as known ARMY) Lea Salonga, who shared on Twitter how "That got me, in the head and in the heart. He displays incredible leadership in the face of uncertainty, frustration and hopelessness."

Before the final song on Day 2, RM stated "Our language is music and our map is our dream. We will forever march together, each singing a different story in a different language, waving countless flags of different colours. We, BTS, are not seven; we will be the story of you, me, and of us all."

BTS' journey continues with the release of their new album, BE, this November. 

Set List

Day 1: October 10 Day 2: October 11

ON

N.O.

We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2


Intro: Persona (RM)

Boy in Luv

Dionysus


Interlude: Shadow (SUGA)

Black Swan

UGH! (Rap Line)

00:00 (Vocal Line)


My Time (JUNGKOOK)

Filter (JIMIN)

Moon (JIN)

Inner Child (V)


Outro: EGO (J-HOPE)

Boy With Luv Remix

DNA

Dope

No More Dream


Encore

Butterfly

Run

Dynamite

We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal

ON

N.O.

We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2


Intro: Persona (RM)

Boy in Luv

Dionysus


Interlude: Shadow (SUGA)

Black Swan

UGH! (Rap Line)

00:00 (Vocal Line)


My Time (JUNGKOOK)

Filter (JIMIN)

Moon (JIN)

Inner Child (V)


Outro: EGO (J-HOPE)

Boy With Luv Remix

DNA

Dope

No More Dream


Encore

Spring Day

IDOL

Dynamite

We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal

BTS' Map of the Soul online pop-up store, with showcases in Seoul, Singapore, and Tokyo, opens this October and November. Find out more here.


Photos: Screengrabs from BTS: MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E