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BTS Tiny Desk Concert Breaks Viewership Record

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Today NPR published an explosive new video.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DYNAMITE")

BTS: (Singing) Shoes on, get up in the morn, cup of milk, let's rock and roll. King Kong, kick the drum, rolling on like a Rolling Stone.

PFEIFFER: The song is "Dynamite" by the all-conquering Korean boy band BTS. It's their first song fully in English, and it quickly burst to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Well, they sang a special version for NPR Music as part of our Tiny Desk Concert series - though not actually at NPR headquarters, what with this whole pandemic and all. Dressed in bright blazers and denim jeans and backed by a live band, the group's singers sat side by side in a record store in Seoul.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DYNAMITE")

BTS: (Singing) Light it up like dynamite, whoa.

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: Once we started doing Tiny Desk Concerts at home where we had artists recording themselves, it was an opportunity to reach out to BTS and see if they could do something on their end.

PFEIFFER: NPR's Stephen Thompson helped make this happen. He noted that the video shattered the series record for YouTube views on its first day in about 25 minutes.

KELLY: Twenty-five minutes - well, all credit due to the BTS Army. That is what the band's global fan base calls itself, and they are a powerful army.

THOMPSON: You sort of get set upon by just, like, thousands and thousands of BTS fans who are like, thank you so much for including them. This is a big deal for them. And it's like, it's a big deal for them? They're the biggest band in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RM: This has been the roughest summer ever.

PFEIFFER: For BTS, known for intricate choreography and eye-popping visuals, the Tiny Desk home concert was pared back. The focus was on their voices, and they closed with a deep cut, the ballad "Spring Day."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPRING DAY")

BTS: (Singing in Korean).

KELLY: A landmark early autumn day for the Tiny Desk and also a reminder that BTS has arrived. The mainstream American market had been a tough nut for the band to crack. Looks like all it took was a little dynamite.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DYNAMITE")

BTS: (Singing) 'Cause I'm in the stars tonight. OK. So watch me bring the fire... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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