36th Golden Disc Awards

South Korea’s 36th annual Golden Disc Awards ceremony took place on January 8, where artists are awarded based on a combination of panelist votes and sales data.

This year’s Golden Disc Awards, which nominated releases between November 2020 and November 2021 were dominated by K-pop mainstays such as BTS and IU, along with rookie girl group aespa.

The solo artist won Digital Song of the Year with her hit single ‘Celebrity’, while BTS was awarded Album of the Year for their November 2020 studio album ‘Be’, making them the winners of the only two Daesang (grand prize) awards of the night.

Additionally, aespa took home a Digital Song Bonsang (major prize) with their breakout single ‘Next Level’, along with Artist of the Year, the Cosmopolitan Artist Award and Rookie Artist of the Year.

This is the latest in a string of achievements by the three acts, who had swept most of the grand prizes during recent awards ceremonies such as the 2021 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) and Melon Music Awards (MMA).

aespa becomes the 3rd K-pop artist in history to receive an ‘Artist of the Year’ award as rookies, after they received the ‘Artist of the Year’ award at the Golden Disk Awards on January 8! aespa is now one of only 6 K-pop artists to achieve the ‘Rookie Grand Slam’. aespa received a total of 4 awards tonight, including ‘Digital Bonsang’ (Next Level), ‘Cosmopolitan Artist,’ ‘Rookie Artist,’ and the coveted ‘Artist of the Year’ at the ’36th Golden Disc Awards’.

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For those unversed, when a new K-Pop artist receives the ‘Rookie of the Year’ (or something similar) award at all five major music award shows in South Korea – the Melon Music Awards (MMA), the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA), the Golden Disk Awards (GDA), the Gaon Chart Music Awards, and the Seoul Music Awards (SMA) they are given the title of achieving a ‘Rookie Grand Slam’. This is very rare, and in fact, had only happened to five groups before this year.

The term was first coined back in 2008 when SHINee became the first K-Pop group to accomplish this feat. Next was iKON that was next to achieve this incredible feat in 2015. After iKON, it was another two years before Wanna One became the next artist to earn the title of ‘Rookie Grand Slam’, after their debut in 2017. It was another two years until not just one, but two more artists were added to this shortlist: ITZY and TXT, who both managed to accomplish this achievement in 2019. ITZY also became the first girl group to do it!

Now, of course, aespa becomes the sixth group overall and the second girl group to earn the ‘Rookie Grand Slam’ title. This also means that SM Entertainment is the only company to have multiple groups accomplish this! Congratulations to aespa!

The 36th Golden Disc Awards winners are as follows:

Digital Song of the Year (Daesang)

‘Next Level’, aespa
‘Nakka’, AKMU ft. IU
‘Butter’, BTS
‘Happen’, Heize
‘Celebrity’, IU – winner
‘Traffic Light’, Lee Mu-jin
‘Dun Dun Dance’, OH MY GIRL
‘ASAP’, STAYC

Album of the Year (Daesang)

‘Be’, BTS – winner
‘Dimension: Dilemma’, ENHYPEN
‘Lilac’, IU
‘Sticker’, NCT 127
‘Hot Sauce’, NCT Dream
‘Attacca’, SEVENTEEN
‘Noeasy’, Stray Kids
‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’, Tomorrow X Together

Digital Song Bonsang winners

‘Next Level’, aespa
‘Nakka’, AKMU ft. IU
‘Butter’, BTS
‘Happen’, Heize
‘Celebrity’, IU
‘Traffic Light’, Lee Mu-jin
‘Dun Dun Dance’, OH MY GIRL
‘ASAP’, STAYC

Album Bonsang winners

‘Be’, BTS
‘Dimension: Dilemma’, ENHYPEN
‘Lilac’, IU
‘Sticker’, NCT 127
‘Hot Sauce’, NCT Dream
‘Attacca’, Seventeen
‘Noeasy’, Stray Kids
‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’, Tomorrow X Together

Rookie Artist of the Year
aespa – winner
Epex
Jo Yu-ri
Kwon Eun-bi
Lee Chan-won
Mirae
Omega X
Purple Kiss
STAYC – winner

Seezn Most Popular Artist Award
BTS – winner

Artist of the Year
aespa – winner

Best Performance
Jeon Somi
The Boyz

Cosmopolitan Artist Award
aespa
SEVENTEEN

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