CNN: Things were very different in the music business 20 years ago. What's been the biggest challenge?
Richardson: If you want to have a long career in this industry, it's a given that there will be waves -- highs and lows -- like a boat rocking on the ocean. It goes up and down and up and down. Knowing that and working through it and riding through it is what sustains you. As well as your fans.
McLean: We don't ever settle. We always try to set new goals for every album cycle. From the music to the producers to what we actually want to sing about, write about. And keep trying to push the limits of who we are and who we want to keep being and grow into. Backstreet Boys will never settle.
CNN: Your first album came out in 1996, but you're calling this your 20-year anniversary. What happened in '93?
Richardson: That's when we formed. We got signed in '94, beginning of '95, but the five of us got together in '93. Between when we got together and when we got signed, we went on the road and did a school tour in a van. There are still people who come up to us on the street and say, "You performed at my elementary school in Pennsylvania when I was 7 years old!" We didn't play in bars to build our fan base, we played high schools, middle schools, elementary schools.
McLean: Grand opening of pet stores! You name it!
Richardson: The parking lot of a car dealership. We did it. Wherever we could play and get exposure. Wherever we could sing a cappella and show people that we're not just pretty faces, we actually have talent, we can sing. We sing with passion, we sing with soul and we love to sing. That's what we did.
CNN: That was your YouTube back then.
Richardson: Yeah, we got discovered via a VHS tape to a record label. Now people are uploading videos on the Internet and that's how they get discovered.
CNN: Do you have an opinion about which way is harder?
Carter: It's all relative. We're not taking away from people's hard work nowadays, it's just a different world. I can't relate necessarily. I can only say what we've gone through. But, the social media with YouTube and everything, it does give people an opportunity to expose yourself and if you have talent it will come out. I think that's a great thing. If we had had that back then, who knows?
Dorough: But it was during that time that we were developing.
Richardson: We were growing. We were learning who we are.
Carter: I think the fact that we took our time getting around the world, that's one of the other reasons why we're able to be here and have this staying power. Because sometimes the social media, it's so fast, that people get it, but to hold on to it, it isn't there.
CNN: Any last words?
Richardson: Ultimately, we just want to say that our fans -- number one -- is why we're still here.