K-pop beyond the lockdown

Fandom, participation, and experiencing community online


  • Hae Joo Kim Berklee College of Music




K-pop, Korea, fandom, BTS


In the year of a global pandemic that brought activity to a halt for musicians around the globe, the K-pop industry proved to be an illuminating case study in how to remain vibrant despite being distanced. As a music that thrives on the Internet with its highly visual nature, K-pop has been well positioned to maintain lively audiences through diverse and innovative content amidst the lockdown environment. Indeed, high-profile group BTS flourished in the time of COVID-19, garnering the Guinness record for most viewers of a music concert live stream. At the heart of this success is an engagement with fans that continues to drive BTS’s, and K-pop’s, rise to mainstream visibility, revealing a participatory nature that remains its strength. This essay reflects on K-pop fandom at the intersection of social media activity intensified in the COVID-19 era, focusing on the case of BTS and the group’s success in building community online.

Author Biography

Hae Joo Kim, Berklee College of Music

Hae Joo Kim is the Assistant Chair of Professional Music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. Her research interests include the popular music and culture of Korea, and the music of film and media.


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How to Cite

Kim, H. J. . (2021). K-pop beyond the lockdown: Fandom, participation, and experiencing community online. Perfect Beat, 21(2), 96–102. https://doi.org/10.1558/prbt.19303