What That BTS Grammys Snub — & ARMY’s Reaction — Really Reveals

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.
In 2019, South Korean group BTS continued to slash through records with ease and sell out stadiums across the world. Their most recent EP, Map of the Soul: Persona, released in April, became their third to reach No. 1 in the country in less than an year, a feat only matched by The Beatles.
But to the surprise of critics and fans (called ARMY) alike, this morning the septet was not nominated for any awards at the 2020 Grammys.
The news was obviously met with a mix of head-scratching and anger. Sure, the Recording Academy is notorious for lagging behind the reality of the ever-evolving and expanding music scene, but besides the band's undeniable rise in the American mainstream (sold-out stadium shows, streaming records, marquee magazine covers, and coveted pop radio play), a few things assured that the Academy certainly were aware of BTS' work and influence. The band had earned a small, but not insignificant, Grammy nod for Best Recording Package for their Love Yourself: Tear album in 2019 and presented the award for Best R&B Album. They also were inducted into the Recording Academy as voting members and their suits from the Grammy Awards will be displayed in L.A.'s Grammy Museum.
The optimistic hope was that the band would get recognized by the Recording Academy for one of its major awards, such as Album of the Year or Best Pop Vocal Album for Persona. If not, then perhaps Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their single "Boy With Luv" featuring Halsey. And then of course, there's always the nebulous Best World Music Album category. Though not the most ideal scenario, K-pop groups are unfortunately used to being siloed into different categories than their Western peers.
Following the Grammys snub, many anticipated social media to erupt with protests and fire from BTS ARMY. Instead, many simply expressed their disappointment and resolve to continue streaming and supporting BTS, trophies be damned. Because this is the frustrating reality for the majority of fans of non-Western music: Many in the States are happy to use popular global acts like BTS for clout — inviting them to award shows, mentioning them on Twitter — but continue to fail to see them stand as equals among Western acts.
But where others would throw in the towel, ARMY uses as fuel to burn brighter. The fandom took to Twitter to show that this unfortunate news will only inspire them to keep fighting for recognition and supporting the music and artists they love. (A movement to stream BTS' albums and songs back to the top of the charts is already underway.)
And most importantly, remind others that trophies will never define BTS' global impact — one that will likely become increasingly harder for anyone (including the Grammys) to ignore.
Related Content:

More from Music

R29 Original Series