A Day Before ‘Seoul Music Awards’: What the Grand Prize Means For the Industry

From Byun Jin Sub to BTS, the history and progression of the Korean music industry can be seen once you take a glance at the Grand Prize winners of the Seoul Music Awards.

Credit: Arena Korea

On the upcoming 31st, the 30th High1 Seoul Music Awards ceremony will be held to put a wrap on 2020’s music industry. Founded in 1990, the Seoul Music Awards has established itself as a representative K-Pop award ceremony, awarding the best singer of its time for the past 30 years.

The main event of the ceremony is the Grand Prize trophy. 22 teams in total have been awarded the Grand Prize in the course of 29 years of Seoul Music Awards. Upon looking at the Grand Prize winners, one can easily know that they are artists who reached their peak popularity and released the best hit songs of the time. Lim Jin Mo, a pop culture critic who is a judge at the Seoul Music Awards says that “the list of winners of the Seoul Music Awards shows the history of the music industry in the 2000s. Looking back, it is evident that many singers remained active to make their years enjoyable.”

The Grand Prize winner of the first SMA was Byun Jin Sub. Extremely popular among female college students at the time, Byun Jin Sub had the honor to win the Grand Prize with “Farewell.” Seo Taiji and Boys also wrote an unmatched history of winning both the Rookie of the Year and the Grand prize at the third SMA.

Credit: W Korea

Following the first winner Byun Jin Sub, Tae Jin Ah (1991), Roo’Ra (1992), Clon, Sechs Kies (co-winners of 1998 with H.O.T), Fin.K.L. (with Jo Sung Mo), BoA, Lee Hyo Ri, Shinhwa, TVXQ, BIGBANG, Wonder Girls, Super Junior, Psy, Taeyeon have won the Grand Prize trophies for respective years.

Seven teams even won the honorable award not once, but twice. Choi Da In won the prize for 4 years (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) whilst EXO and, Seo Taiji and Boys, Kim Gun Mo, SNSD, and BTS also won the said award more than once.

Above all, attention is focused on what new history BTS will make, and whether they will be able to win for 4 consecutive years.

SMA’s grand prize has been awarded to mostly male artists and usually to groups rather than solos. As the industry entered 2010, the popularity of K-Pop and boy groups have been stronger than ever.

Going by the winners so far, there are 5 male solo singers, 3 female solo singers, 10 male groups, 3 female groups, and one co-ed group. Lee Hyo Ri and Tae Yeon also won the grand prize as solo artists after receiving the trophies each as members of Fin.K.L. and SNSD too.

Credit: Bighit Entertainment

Meanwhile, the 30th Seoul Music Awards will be able to be enjoyed through cable channels such as KBSdrama, KBSjoy, KBSw, and LG Uplus’ app IDOL LIVE. For overseas viewers, the ceremony will be available on Niconico Live.


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