KMA Genre Distribution 2004-2014, Part 2

This week I’ve had a look at the genre distribution for the general awards categories in the Korean Music Awards. It turned out to be so much data it was better separated into two posts. The first genre breakdown post. Today we’ll have a look at which genres are more popular when it comes to selecting the Rookie and Artist of the Year.

To determine which genre an artist belongs to I have looked at the genres in which that artist’s album and/or song(s) have been nominated that same year. If the artist has neither album nor song nominated in any of the genre categories that year it is marked with NO GENRE. It the artist has had albums and/or songs nominated in different genre categories that year both genres are included.

The genre categories have gone through numerous changes over the years. For the purpose of this breakdown I have grouped them as follows:
· Rock
· Modern Rock
· Pop
· Dance & Electronic
· Rap & Hip Hop (including Hip Hop & Dance; Hip Hop)
· R&B & Soul (including R&B & Ballad)
· Jazz & Crossover (including Jazz; Crossover)
· Soundtrack


Rookie of the Year


During the early years of the Korean Music Awards a nominee for Rookie of the Year (올해의 신인) was commonly not nominated in any of the other categories. This has changed since 2008 after which rookies have been most commonly sourced from Modern Rock. The least common genre in which to find a rookie nominated has been Rap & Hip Hop.

Rookie of the Year Winners


2004: Jung Jaeil [NO GENRE]
2005: Mot [Modern Rock]
2006: 2nd Moon [Jazz & Crossover]; Sogyumo Acacia Band [Modern Rock]
2007: The Mustangs [Rock]
2008: Younha [Pop]
2009: Loro’s [Modern Rock]
2010: Apollo 18 [Rock]; Guckkasten [Rock]
2011: Gate Flowers [Rock]
2012: Bye Bye Badman [Modern Rock]
2013: 404 [Rock]
2014: Rock’N’Roll Radio [Modern Rock]

Out of all categories in the Korean Music Awards, Rookie of the Year is the only general category where 2 winners have been named–this a total of 2 times. The winners have come in equal amounts from Modern Rock and Rock, but looking at how many have been nominated in the respective categories it is anyway twice more likely for a Rock nominee to take home the price. So far there has yet to be any rookie winner that has also been nominated in any of the Dance & Electronic, Rap & Hip Hop or R&B & Soul categories.

Although Jung Jaeil was not nominated in any of the genre categories the year that he won Rookie of the Year, he has since both been nominated in and won awards from the Jazz & Crossover category. However, in 2004 the song he had nominated for Song of the Year, “눈물 꽃“, had a much different character.


Artist of the Year

Before 2008 Artist of the Year (올해의 음악인) was actually 3 categories. We will look at all separately, but start with Artist of the Year as it looks today.


Since Artist of the Year became just one category, there has been a fairly fair distribution of nominees with albums and/or songs nominated for Rock, Modern Rock or Pop. The other categories have not been nearly as well represented with yet a single nomination coming from R&B & Soul.

The statistics above contain two double entries: in 2010 Yoon Sang was nominated both for Best Dance & Electronic Album (그땐 몰랐던 일들) and Best Dance & Electronic Song (“떠나자“) while also seeing his score for documentary Noodle Road (누들로드) nominated in the Soundtrack category; in 2014 Jang Pil Soon had her album Soony Seven nominated for Best Modern Rock Album whereas the song “맴맴” from the same album was nominated for Best Pop Song.

Artist of the Year Winners


2008: Yi Sung Yol [Modern Rock]
2009: Toy [Pop]
2010: Seoul Electric Band [Rock]
2011: Galaxy Express [Rock]
2012: Kiha & The Faces [Rock]
2013: Psy [Dance & Electronic]
2014: Sunwoo Jung-A [Pop]

During the 7 years that Artist of the Year has covered both solo artists and groups, the Rock bands have done slightly better than others. There have yet to be any Artist of the Year with a nomination also in one of the Rap & Hip Hop or Jazz & Crossover categories, but as can be seen below there have been Artist of the Year winners from the R&B & Soul category prior to 2008.

Male Artist of the Year

When it comes to male solo artist, from 2004 to 2007 the ones that had been nominated in one of the Pop categories were more likely to also score a nomination for Male Artist of the Year (올해의 음악인 (남자)). While the category was still around there was nobody nominated from either Dance & Electronic or Jazz & Crossover, although the former only co-existed with the separated Artist of the Year categories for 1 year.

Male Artist of the Year Winners


2004: Wheesung [R&B & Soul]
2005: Lee Seung Chul [Pop]
2006: Cho Kyu Chan [Pop]
2007: EZ Hyoung [Modern Rock]

There is not much data to look at, but just as there were more Male Artist of the Year nominees coming from the Pop area there were also more Male Artist of the Year winners from the same area. While there were also nominees from Rock and Rap & Hip Hop, neither managed to claim the award.

Female Artist of the Year

One remarkable difference from Male Artist of the Year is that the majority of nominees for Female Artist of the Year (올해의 음악인 (여자)) had not been nominated for any other award the same year. There will be reason to return to this in the next post in the KMA history series.

The female solo artists that were nominated both in the Female Artist of the Year category and in one of the genre categories came in equal parts from the Pop and R&B & Soul areas with one additional nominee from the Dance & Electronic categories, the one year it lasted.

Female Artist of the Year Winners

2004: Lee Sang Eun [NO GENRE]
2005: Lee Sora [Pop]
2006: Lee Sang Eun [NO GENRE]
2007: Pak Sun Zoo [Pop]

The winners of Female Artist of the Year were 50% Pop and 50% Lee Sang Eun aka Lee-tszche. Lee Sang Eun was nominated for Female Artist of the Year also in 2008–a year during which she was had both album and song nominated in the Pop categories, so it appears that Pop was the way to go for female soloists looking to win this category.

Group of the Year

During the 4 years that Group of the Year (올해의 음악인 (그룹)) there was time to find nominees from all genre categories except the latecomer Dance & Electronic and the always elusive Soundtrack. The most commonly occurring genre category among nominated groups was Modern Rock.

Group of the Year Winners

2004: Big Mama [R&B & Soul]
2005: Clazziquai [Pop]
2006: W [Pop]
2007: No Brain [Rock]

Although Modern Rock was the more popular genre when it came to picking the nominees for Group of the Year, none of those groups ended up as the winner. The sample is small, but while it lasted Pop groups appeared to have the advantage gathering 2 wins during the 3 years that both the Pop awards and the Group of the Year award existed.

Diagram data sources: 한국대중음악상; Pgr21

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