Judges Believe This Award Ceremony Is The Opportunity To Overcome The K-Pop Crisis


The 33rd Seoul Music Awards, which will sum up the music industry in 2023, will be held at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Thailand on January 2, 2024. This is the first time the Seoul Music Awards, which has 33 years of history and tradition, is being held overseas.

The 33rd Seoul Music Awards poster | sportsseoul

Before the awards ceremony, the judges who attended the screening held at the Sports Seoul building unanimously said, “We must use the ‘Seoul Music Awards’ awards ceremony as a stepping stone to overcome the crisis of K-pop.”

Kim Soo Cheol, chairman of the Seoul Music Awards judging panel (left), is meeting with the judges at Sports Seoul headquarters. | Reporter Choi Seung Seop/sportsseoul

In attendance at the judging ceremony on this day were composer and singer Kim Soo Cheol, pop music critic Lim Jin Mo, singer and music director Kim Hyun Cheol, Howon University professor and musician Jeong Won Young, and Sports Seoul editor-in-chief Cho Hyun Jung. Composer Cho Young Soo, a judge, was unable to attend due to personal reasons.

The judges had a more heated discussion than ever before, pointing out current issues in the music industry in 2023. Chairman Kim Soo Cheol said, “I have participated in the Seoul Music Awards awards ceremony for over 15 years and feel rewarded by my juniors who have written the history of K-pop. There were many heart-warming moments. He continued, “As the Seoul Music Awards in its 33-year history is being held overseas for the first time, we worked hard to ensure fair judging this year as well.”

Kim Soo Cheol, chairman of the Seoul Music Awards judging panel (center), is meeting with the judges at Sports Seoul headquarters. | Reporter Choi Seung Seop/sportsseoul

Popular music critic Lim Jin Mo said, “It is rewarding to see K-pop albums selling like hot cakes after the pandemic and K-pop singers being active overseas, but their musical achievements are a question mark. Some teams seemed to be regressing musically by focusing only on performance,” he said, expressing concern.

He continued, “Meanwhile, new teams like RIIZE have achieved outstanding musical achievements. IVE’s music is fresh and sophisticated. The new girl group Kiss of Life makes us look forward to the future,” he praised.

RIIZE | @RIIZE_official/Twitter

Professor Jeong Won Young said, “Polarization in the indie scene has worsened. Teams that are growing on their own by focusing only on music in difficult times tend to be recognized overseas first,” noting the potential of “K-Indie.” Singer Kim Hyun Cheol said, “We must look at the contributions of ‘legendary artists’ who paved the way for K-pop singers before there were younger K-pop singers.”

Sports Seoul Editor-in-Chief Cho Hyun Jjung said, “In keeping with the globalization of K-pop, we have decided to hold the Seoul Music Awards overseas for the first time in its 33-year history,” and added, “We are creating a space where fans from Korea, Thailand, and other countries can communicate through K-pop. I will work hard for this.”

Unlike other awards ceremonies, only one team receives the grand prize at the Seoul Music Awards. In addition, the best song award, best album award, category awards for each genre, Korean Wave grand prize, and popularity award, which are voted on by fans, are selected by calculating the song, album, and judges’ scores. The selection criteria are based on judges’ evaluations (50%), digital music and album sales (25%), and mobile voting results (25%).

Voting is currently underway on the official mobile voting app. The first round of voting will be held from 12:00 PM KST on November 5, 2023 to 11:59 PM KST on November 24, 2023. After initialization during the intermission period, the results of the second round of voting (12:00 PM KST on November 25 to 11:59 PM KST on December 14) are applied at 50% and added up. Based on Hanteo Chart, candidates are selected for albums and music released from January to October 2023.

The mobile app can be used by searching for K-POP SEOUL in English on the Google Play Store, and voting results can be checked in the app and on the Seoul Music Awards website.

 “2023 is a crisis for K-pop.” 

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