Korean Netizens Aren’t Impressed — “Seoul Music Awards”‘ Venue Of Choice Sparks Backlash


The Seoul Music Awards (SMA) has been a staple in the South Korean music industry since its inception in 1990. Over the years, it has recognized and celebrated countless artists, from industry veterans to up-and-coming stars. Yet this year, the awarding ceremony is making a move that has left many Korean netizens scratching their heads.

| Seoul Music Awards 

In a surprising announcement, Y Global Music declared that the 33rd edition of the SMAs would be held in Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium on January 2, 2024. This marks a historic moment for the award show, as this is the first time it will be held outside of South Korea. Previously, locations such as Seoul, Goyang, Jeongseon, and Taebaek had the honor of hosting the prestigious event.

제33회 #서울가요대상
태국 방콕에서
2024년 1월 2일에 개최합니다!
함께하실 준비 되셨나요?

티켓 오픈 : 10월 29일 (10AM GMT+7)
그라운드&스탠딩 https://t.co/0e8veflGFc
1-3층 좌석 https://t.co/rPDTmgvoi7 #SMAinbkk #33rdSeoulMusicAwardsinBKK#SportsSeoul#서가대 pic.twitter.com/qA4UQA0r7k

— 서울가요대상 (@SMA_korea) October 21, 2023

While the news left many in anticipation of the grandeur that a venue like Rajamangala National Stadium could offer, it also sparked a flurry of confusion and disapproval among Korean netizens.

The stadium where the event will be held. | Coldplay Timeline

A post on the popular community site, TheQoo, went viral, amassing a multitude of comments expressing dismay over the SMA’s choice of venue. A consistent sentiment was the sense of incongruence between the name ‘Seoul Music Awards’ and an overseas location.

EXO attending the 26th Seoul Music Awards. | Yonhap

Some cheekily suggested renaming it the “Bangkok Music Awards,” while others voiced feelings of embarrassment. One fan posted on Twitter jokingly teasing that the future venues will be Australia, Antarctica, and then Mars.

2030년 : 서울가요대상->호주에서
2040년 : 서울가요대상->남극에서
2050년 : 서울가요대상->Mars에서 https://t.co/K5GEDQfyRX

— 소히힣 (@loveydovey__NT) October 21, 2023

The questions on many people’s minds are: Why this sudden change in venue? And why Bangkok? Is it a strategic move to appeal to the global K-Pop fandom, given Thailand’s burgeoning K-Pop fan base? Or could there be logistical or economic reasons behind the decision? As of now, Y Global Music has yet to provide an explanation.


Regardless of the reasoning, the SMA promises a spectacular event. Tickets will be available starting October 7th via Y Global Music’s website. Additionally, fan voting for several categories, including the coveted “Fan Choice of the Year” and “World Trend Artist,” has been opened for September through mobile apps such as Fancast, Idol Champ, and Podoal.

Over the years, SMA has recognized groups that have become global sensations. BTS, Red Velvet, EXO, and Girls’ Generation are just a few of the big names that have graced the SMA stage as winners. This year, with the event being held in Bangkok, there’s no doubt that fans can expect a lineup of sensational performances from the hottest K-Pop acts.

BTS won the Grand Prize Award at the 27th SMA.

However, as the anticipation builds, it remains to be seen whether the SMA’s decision to move overseas will be a successful venture or if it will face more backlash from its core South Korean audience. One thing’s for sure: the 33rd Seoul Music Awards will be one for the history books.

 The event promises it will be one for the history books. 

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