BTS’ “Map Of The Soul: 7” album has officially spent 52 weeks on the Billboard 200. This means that the album has been on the Billboard 200 every month of the year since it was released, one year ago. Map of the Soul: 7 is BT’ fourth Korean-language (seventh overall) studio album, released on February 21, 2020. It is the follow-up to their 2019 extended play Map of the Soul: Persona, with five of its songs appearing on the album. The album was supported by two singles, both entering the US Billboard Hot 100: “Black Swan” debuted and peaked at number 57, while “On” reached number 4, becoming the band’s first top-five hit on the chart.
Speaking to Variety on what inspired “Map of the Soul: 7”, RM said,
“Many things were not intended as far as our career. We didn’t know we would ever reach this kind of position. One day, we woke up and we were like, ‘Where are we?’ When you don’t know where to go, I think the best way is to walk down the road you have been walking on. So, the reboot [songs] is the best way to reflect ourselves and figure out ourselves again: Where are we? What are we doing? Who were we in the past? And [who are we] right now? That’s how it happened.”
Prior to the album’s release, “Map of the Soul: 7” was listed as one of the most anticipated albums of 2020 by Billboard, Rolling Stone, Vogue, Vulture and numerous others.
Talking about the creative process behind the album, Suga stated,
“It took us a little longer, and this is our first full album in quite a while. But making an album isn’t just making the music. We have the songs, there’s the choreography and a lot of other elements that come with it, so it took some time.”
Described by BTS as “deeply personal”, “Map of the Soul: 7” is self-referential that sees the group looking deeper to share their individual stories through their music.
In an interview with Zach Sang, Suga explained:
“One message that penetrates the album as a whole is that you must face your inner shadow, but resist becoming submerged into its depths.”
“When it comes to this album, it’s called [Map of the Soul:] 7. We worked together for seven years, there’s seven of us. It’s a lot more than just inspiration, this album contains our stories.” Suga on the album’s title, Variety
“Map of the Soul: 7’s” branding, artwork and album design centers around a layered number ‘7’ brand mark, designed by graphic studio Sparks Edition to represent BTS’s seven-year long journey. Each individual BTS member’s identity and personality was embodied by a different typeface ‘7’ within the layered brand mark. Four different designs of the brand mark were developed to accompany the concept photos of each album version.
On January 21, 2020, BTS officially announced their fourth worldwide concert tour and second stadium tour titled Map of the Soul Tour to promote “Map of the Soul: Persona” and “Map of the Soul: 7”. The tour was set to begin on April 25, 2020 at the Levi’s Stadium in the United States but after initial tour dates in Seoul were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group’s label postponed all additional dates. A two-day virtual pay-per-view concert titled BTS Map of the Soul ON:E was held on October 10–11, 2020, drawing 993,000 concurrent viewers.
Here are some of the reasons that “Map Of The Soul: 7” Album is still at the top
According to Dreamus, the distributor for “Map of the Soul: 7”, stock preorders for the album surpassed 3.42 million copies over the first six days of the pre-order period, overtaking the group’s own record set with Map of the Soul: Persona’s 2.68 million pre-orders. On February 6, Forbes reported that the album had surpassed 4 million pre-orders worldwide. By February 18, album pre-orders had crossed 4.02 million.
“Map of the Soul: 7” debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with 422,000 album-equivalent units, including 347,000 pure album sales, becoming BTS’s fourth number-one album in the country and the highest first-week figures of BTS’s albums in the US to date.
It also marked the biggest first week sales for an album in 2020 and maintained the record until The Weeknd’s After Hours was released on March 20. The album outsold the next six highest-ranking albums on the Billboard 200 combined.
The album’s lead single, “On” debuted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 with 86,000 downloads and 18.3 million U.S. streams, marking BTS’ biggest sales week for a song at the time. The song was the group’s highest charting single on the chart at that time and their first top five, following “Boy With Luv” featuring Halsey which peaked at number eight and “Fake Love” which peaked at No. 10, making BTS the Korean artist with the most top-ten hits on the Hot 100
In November 2020, “Map of the Soul: 7” was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which denotes one million album-equivalent units. It is their second album to be awarded platinum following Love Yourself: Answer (2018).
In South Korea, the album debuted atop the Gaon Album Chart, giving BTS their thirteenth number one. The album sold over 2.65 million copies in its first six hours and a record-breaking 3.37 million copies in its first week, achieving the highest first week sales in Hanteo Chart history and surpassing their previous record of 2.13 million copies with “Map of the Soul: Persona”; it outsold the next nineteen best-selling albums of 2020 combined.
In under nine days of the album’s release, “Map of the Soul: 7” sold 4.1 million copies, marking the highest sales achieved by an album in a month and over a single year in the Gaon Album Chart’s history, surpassing the monthly and annual sales of “Map of the Soul: Persona” and making it the best-selling album in the history of South Korea. It is also the first Korean album to sell more than 4 million copies since Gaon Chart’s inception
In April, it became the first album certified as “Quadruple Million” by Gaon since the body implemented certifications in 2018; BTS are the only artist to achieve this. Following the release of “Map of the Soul: 7”, BTS became the best-selling artist in South Korea of all time, having sold 20.32 million albums cumulatively.
In Japan, the album became the group’s fifth number one, selling more than 370,000 copies in its release week. It was certified Platinum by Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) in February 2020, denoting 250,000 shipments
Four months later, in June, Oricon announced that “Map of the Soul: 7” had topped the mid-year Album Chart ranking with 429,000 copies sold, making BTS the first foreign artist in 36 years to do so since Michael Jackson with Thriller (1984), and the first male artist in three years since SMAP in 2017 with their greatest hits album SMAP 25 Years.
With “Map of the Soul: 7”, BTS became the first Asian group to top the album charts in the top five music markets in the world—the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and France.
At the end of 2020, Billboard revealed that “Map of the Soul: 7” ranked at number two on the list of the ten top-selling albums of the year in the US, according to MRC Data, with 674,009 copies sold, only behind Taylor Swift’s Folklore, which sold over 1 million copies.
“Map of the Soul: 7” was also the number one physical album of the year in America, with 646,000 hard copies sold.
In South Korea, it topped Gaon’s annual album chart with a cumulative 4,376,975 copies sold, marking the fifth consecutive year that BTS had the best-selling album in their home country.