What is a Daesang? – K-pop’s Most Coveted Prize

what is a daesang

What is a Daesang? It’s a question that most beginner K-pop stans ask themselves when starting on their K-pop journey.

So, we wrote this article to tell you everything you need to know about the most prestigious award in K-pop.

In addition, we will be enumerating the most notable Korean Music Awards show that every K-pop fan should know.

It will act as a comprehensive guide for you to learn more about K-pop and the Korean entertainment system in general. 

So without further ado, let us answer your question.

What is a Daesang in K-pop? 

The Daesang Award or the “Grand Prize” is the highest recognition that a K-pop or Korean artist can receive on a Music Award Show. 

It is a highly coveted trophy that every Korean artist dream of having. 

There are multiple awards shows in Korea that acknowledges idol groups with a daesang, but the most notable of them are as follows: 

  • Seoul Music Awards
  • Golden Disc Awards
  • Melon Music Awards
  • Mnet Asian Music Awards

Some of these daesangs include the Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Artist of the Year, etc.

These year-end awards focus on artistic excellence, sales (both physical and digital), and the artist’s overall contribution to the Korean music industry.  

Hence, a Daesang gives high honors to the winners. It becomes an emotional moment for K-pop artists who have trained for many years to achieve this level of recognition.

That is why you often witness K-pop Idols crying when delivering their speeches on stage. 

Notable Music Awards Shows that awards a daesang

Seoul Music Awards

Seoul music awards that awards a daesang

The High1 Seoul Music Awards is a prestigious Korean Music Festival that began in 1990, intending to facilitate the growth of the Korean pop music industry.

It represents the recent trends in K-pop music and aims to introduce a new vision among the several awards shows in South Korea. 

Well-known K-pop artists who stand at the top of the Korean wave attend this awards show. 

Hence, it is where you can meet all the popular K-pop Idols and celebrate great music.

Before, the 12 Bonsang or Main award winners were the candidates to take home the grand prize. 

They determine the winner by calculating the total album and digital sales and a portion of online votes. The board of judges gives the final decision. 

But starting from 2020, the High1 Seoul Music Awards is giving away a Daesang using the same criteria but for two separate categories. 

These categories include Album Daesang (for physical achievements) and the Digital Daesang (for digital achievements.)

In other words, the awards show changed how they give daesangs to accommodate numerous K-pop fans’ music consumption evolution.

Golden Disc Awards

Golden disc awards that awards a daesang

The Golden Disc Awards is one of the premier music awards ceremonies in South Korea. 

In its inception in 1986, it was first called the “Korea Visual and Records Grand Prize Award.” 

Above all, it aims to recognize the accomplishments of the local music industry of Korea.

Therefore, those artists who gained outstanding K-pop industry achievements will receive the Golden Disc Award.

The public regards GDA as the “Grammy Awards of South Korea.” 

They praise the awards show for its dedication to a fair and objective approach in giving awards. 

Because of this, most K-pop artists desire to be recognized by this prestigious award-giving body. 

There are two Daesangs awarded in the ceremony; the “Album of the Year” or Album Daesang and the “Song of the Year” or the Digital Song Daesang. 

The criteria for judging the Daesang recipients include 60% of the sales volume count and 40% expert review. 

The review team comprises 50 experts: industry officials, music reporters, producers, critics, etc. 

Melon Music Awards

Melon music awards

The Melon Music Awards or “MMA” is a major annual music award show in South Korea that started in 2009. 

It is one of Korea’s representative music awards ceremonies.

To put a bit of context, Melon is an online music store and music streaming platform that Kakao M. owns. 

In addition, it is South Korea’s most prominent music subscription service, where they can stream songs and music videos online.

The Daesang awards given in this awards show are the award for the Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year. 

The first three Daesangs are given based on these categories: 

  • 60% sales and streaming count 
  • 20% online votes 
  • 20% for the judges’ scores 

While the Daesang for the Record of the Year entirely depends on the judges’ decision.

Mnet Asian Music Awards

2021 mnet asian music awards

The Mnet Asian Music Awards, otherwise known as MAMA, is one of the most well-known award-giving bodies for musical excellence in South Korea. 

The show first aired in 1999 on Mnet, a television music channel owned by CJ E&M. 

Likewise, Mnet organizes the awards show yearly.

It is a unique music awards show as it has been held in many different countries following its expansion. 

Some of these countries are Macau, Singapore, Hongkong, and Japan. 

MAMA gives away four Daesangs: Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and the Worldwide Icon of the Year.

K-pop Artists with the Most Daesang

Here is a list of the Top 10 K-pop Artists that bagged the most Daesang awards as of January 2022:

  1. BTS – 63 Daesang awards
  2. EXO – 23 Daesang awards
  3. TWICE – 18 Daesang awards
  4. Girls’ Generation – 10 Daesang awards
  5. Big Bang – 10 Daesang awards 
  6. Wonder Girls – 8 Daesang awards
  7. PSY – 7 Daesang awards
  8. Super Junior – 7 Daesang awards
  9. 2NE1 – 6 Daesang awards
  10. IU – 5 Daesang awards

Daesangs to Spare! 

Daesang awards have been around for a long time, even before Hallyu took over the world. 

It is important to note that winning a Daesang will not solely define the success or failure of a K-pop artist.

The fans should never dismiss their hard work because they did not win a single grand prize in a Music Awards show.

Your love and support should be enough of an award to make them feel recognized and special.

Finally, tell us what you think of the Daesang awards in the comments!

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