Cover BTS have been crowned the world's best selling artists of 2020 (Image: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Breaking records is a norm for BTS. The K-pop superstars have made history as the first South Korean and Asian act and first artist whose songs are predominantly not in English to win the award

All hail BTS. The kings of K-pop have once again made history by winning the Global Recording Artist of the Year Award 2020 by IFPI, the organisation that represents the global recorded music industry. They broke yet another barrier as the first South Korean, first Asian and first act whose songs are predominantly not in English to win the award.

The award is calculated according to an artist or a group's worldwide performance across digital and physical music formats during the year, from streams to vinyl and covers their entire body of work, making the K-pop septet—RM, Jin, Suga, J-hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook—the best-selling artists of 2020.

The Grammy-nominated group is the only Asian group in the top 10 which included Taylor Swift, Drake, The Weeknd and Billie Eilish. The win marks the group's continued success, after finishing second in 2018 and seventh in 2019. Before bagging the award, all recipients have been from North America and the United Kingdom.

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2020 proved to be a monster year for the group as they continued to go beyond what any Asian group has achieved and cement K-pop to the global market. The group earned their first Grammy nomination, the first ever from a South Korean act; their first all-English song Dynamite broke records including the most viewed music video in 24 hours on YouTube and took the number one spot at the Billboard Hot100, again the first South Korean act to do so.

Their album, Map of the Soul: 7 was a massive chart-topper, setting a Guinness World Record for the best-selling album in South Korea and dominating all of the top five music markets in the world and once again being the first Asian act to do so. They ended 2020 with the release of their deeply-personal album BE, amidst the pandemic. With the album, BTS became the fastest group to earn five chart-topping albums in the US since the Beatles.

"BTS are a global phenomenon. They have had another outstanding year, releasing three albums, and continually finding creative and engaging ways to share their story with the world. They truly show the power that music has to bring joy and happiness to people the world over. We would like to congratulate RM, Jin, Suga, J-hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook and we are excited to see what they have in store next," says Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI.

(Related: Here's Why Hundreds of K-Pop Music on Spotify Disappeared Overnight)

Above Watch the group announce their continued partnership with Unicef

Other than BTS's historic win, the group and their label, Big Hit Entertainment, managed by CEO and Tatler's Culture List 2021 honouree, Bang Si-hyuk also renewed its commitment to Unicef. The group will continue its "Love Myself" campaign and its ambition of love and togetherness, particularly at this time of social isolation. Since 2017, the campaign has raised US$2.98 million globally.

For the continued partnership, BTS and Big Hit will also donate over US$1 million to Unicef, along with proceeds from the sale of "Love Myself" merchandise and a portion of the profit from the group's Love Yourself album sales. For the campaign, the group also gave a speech at the 73rd and 75th United Nations General Assemblies.

"We are extremely moved and thankful that our "Love Myself" campaign, which began with small steps, is now being elevated to an even bigger partnership. We also strived to 'Love Myself' ourselves, and I think we as a team and as individuals grew as well," says RM, the leader of BTS.

"Covid-19 is taking an enormous toll on all of our lives and emotional well-being, not least children and young people. Through their music and messages, BTS has said to their global audience, ‘You are not alone. This is a difficult time for all of us. And together, with love and kindness, we will get through it'", says Unicef executive director, Henrietta Fore.

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