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BTS holds world's largest paid virtual concert

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BTS holds world's largest paid virtual concert
The 100-minute live stream, "Bang Bang Con: The Live," was viewed by 756,000 fans from 107 countries, Big Hit Entertainment announced in a statement. Photo courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

SEOUL, June 15 (UPI) -- A concert streamed online Sunday by K-pop megastars BTS drew the largest paid audience ever for a virtual musical event, the band's management company said Monday.

The 100-minute event, "Bang Bang Con: The Live," was viewed by 756,000 fans from 107 countries, Big Hit Entertainment announced in a statement.

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"Marking the biggest audience for a paid virtual concert, BTS is regarded to have shown new possibilities of virtual concerts in the age of COVID-19," the management company said.

Fans were able to choose from among six different camera angles throughout the live stream, ranging from close-ups to full-screen shots, as the septet chatted and performed their hits across five different rooms and two stages in a Seoul studio.

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The concert marked the first collaborative project between Big Hit and U.S.-based live streaming solutions firm Kiswe after the two companies signed a partnership agreement last week.

The boy band performed a 12-track set: "DOPE," "Boyz with Fun," "Like," "Just One Day," "Jamais Vu," "Respect," "Friends," "Black Swan," "Boy With Luv (Feat. Halsey)," "Go Go," "Anpanman" and "Spring Day."

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"We have prepared a short preview of our tour," the band announced as they performed "Black Swan" and a revamped stage version of "Boy With Luv."

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BTS released its most recent album, Map of the Soul: 7, in February. A tour, which was scheduled to kick off in Seoul in April before continuing to North America, Europe and Asia, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Though we may not be able to see each other at this time, we've been constantly striving to grow as a group," band member Jimin told fans at the virtual concert Sunday. "We are coping up with it pretty well so hope that you too can overcome this time by finding the small joy within. Hope we can meet each other again with smiles on our faces."

The band is slated to release a Japanese album, its first in two years, on July 15. The new album, called Map Of The Soul: 7 -- The Journey, will feature new Japanese songs as well as Japanese versions of hits including "Boy with Luv," "Fake Love" and "On."

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BTS and its fan base, known as ARMY, made headlines recently by raising funds to support the Black Lives Matter movement. After the band and management company Big Hit announced a $1 million donation to the movement, fans started a social media hashtag campaign, named #MatchAMillion, and raised over $1 million for Black Lives Matter as well.

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