Look back on the history of global K-pop through MMA’s past winners

MMA 2021 (Melon Music Awards 2021) will be kicking off a splendid festival on December 4th.

MMA became a festival venue for K-pop fans to enjoy and communicate with each other, a star gateway for rookies who have just stepped into the music industry as well as a place to praise K-pop stars for the achievements they have made over the past year. Here is a summary of the stars who enjoyed the joy of winning awards through MMA.

◇ From SNSD to BTS… Artist & Album & Best Song of the Year

BTS’s performance in MMA over the past 3 years cannot be left out. BTS won Album of the Year for “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever” in 2016, Best Song of the Year for “Spring Day” in 2017 as well as Artist of the Year and Album of the Year in 2018. In 2019 and 2020, they wrote an all-kill myth by monopolizing all 3 awards.


“K-pop King” EXO is also showing a deep connection with MMA. EXO won the Artist of the Year award for 2 consecutive years in 2016 and 2017, the Album of the Year award for “EXODUS” in 2015 and the Best Song of the Year award for “Growl” in 2013.


In 2009, when MMA’s first offline awards ceremony was held, SNSD was the protagonist. At that time, SNSD won Artist of the Year and Best Song of the Year at the same time. They continued to prove their unwavering popularity by taking home the Artist of the Year award in the following year.


In addition, IU, SHINee, 2NE1, Busker Busker, god and TWICE were also named winners.

◇ MMA’s TOP 10 Artist Award: IU and EXO won the most awards with 7 times

So far, the most familiar winners of the TOP 10 Artist Award are IU and EXO, who each have won a total of seven awards. IU was listed in the ceremony’s TOP 10 from 2010 to 2014, 2017 and 2019, and EXO entered the TOP 10 spots for seven consecutive years from 2013 to 2019.


BTS won the TOP 10 Artist Award five times, SISTAR and 2NE1, BIGBANG four times, and TWICE, Girls’ Generation, BOL4, and MAMAMOO three times each. The 2-time winners include BLACKPINK, Taeyeon, Apink, Red Velvet, SHINee, Winner, Heize, and Super Junior.

Baek Hyun, Oh My Girl, Lim Young-woong, Jannabi, Jang Bum-joon, Chung Ha, BTOB, Akdong Musician, Toy, Hyukoh, Zion.T, Psy, 2PM, CNBLUE, Baek Yerin, K.Will, and Lee Seung-gi are also honored with the TOP 10 Artist Award.

◇ From 2NE1 to BLACKPINK, MMA’s Rookie of the Year Award is the entrance to stardom

The first winner of the MMA Rookie of the Year Award, dubbed the star gateway, was Ivy in 2005, and 2NE1, which debuted with “Lollipop,” won in 2009, when the first offline stage was held. Since then, CNBLUE, which caused the Korean Wave idol band boom, and music powerhouse Huh Gak have passed the MMA Rookie of the Year Award, and BTS, who debuted as “2 Cool 4 School,” has been recognized for its potential by receiving the MMA Rookie of the Year Award in 2013.

In addition, artists who won the MMA’s Rookie of the Year Award are Winner, GFRIEND, and BLACKPINK, who showed their vigorous activities when they received great love from all countries beyond Korea.


Since 2013, the Rookie of the Year Award, which previously could be won by only one team, has been divided into the Male and  Female Rookie of the Year Awards. THE BOYZ and (G)I-DLE in 2018, TOMORROW X TOGETHER and ITZY in 2019, and CRAVITY and Weeekly in 2020 won the award.

the boyz

Currently, Melon is holding votings in a total of nine categories, including the TOP 10 Artists, Artist of the Year, and Album of the Year through the MMA2021 app/web page. Among the TOP 10 teams, BTS has received 218,053 votes (28%), Lim Young-woong 207,242 votes (26%), and NCT DREAM 102,732 votes (13%) as of the morning of November 10th.

With the top P10 and sectoral voting scheduled to take place until the 22nd, K-pop fans are paying keen attention to who will be the winners of the awards at 2021 MMA, which is expected to be a K-pop global festival.


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