Dec 11, 2023

The 2023 Melon Music Awards rocks Incheon’s Inspire Arena showcasing unparalleled sound quality and stage views

Seoul, December 2, 2023 – Music fans from around the world were treated to something truly special at the 2023 Melon Music Awards. Hosted by Melon, Kakao Entertainment’s music platform, and sponsored by Kakao Bank, the 15th edition of the awards transformed into a breathtaking opening act for Incheon’s new Inspire Arena that recently opened in the city’s Yeongjeong-do district.

Built especially for K-Pop performances, the venue boasts unprecedentedly rich acoustics to match clear sightlines for every seat in the house thanks to a uniquely designed 360-degree stage situated right in the center. The stage brings fans closer to the stars, while artists can move freely throughout the show to connect with fans all around the venue. In addition to the 30 award category announcements, the audience of 12,000 was treated to 13 incredible performances by top-selling K-pop groups.

NewJeans and NCT DREAM win big, ‘New Artist of the Year’ jointly awarded to ZEROBASEONE and RIIZE

NewJeans was the clear winner of the night, taking home 5 major awards including ‘Artist of the Year,’ ‘Best Song of the Year,’ ‘TOP10,’ ‘Millions TOP10,’ and ‘Best Female Group.’ The group also set a record for spending the longest time at Number One in the history of the Melon Chart TOP100 with their hit ‘Ditto.’

NCT DREAM meanwhile received 4 major awards, including ‘Record of the Year,’ ‘TOP10,’ ‘Millions TOP10,’ and ‘Best Male Group.’ Earlier in the year, the group set a record for the song ‘Candy,’ which topped Melon’s weekly popular chart for four consecutive weeks in January. Their third full album ‘ISTJ’ was streamed over a million times within just 24 hours of its release, earning a spot in Melon’s ‘Millions Album’ Hall of Fame.

IVE received ‘Album of the Year’ for their first full album, ‘I’ve IVE,’ released in April this year. The album entered Melon’s ‘Millions Album’ Hall of Fame and saw its title tracks ‘I AM’ and ‘Kitsch’ successively topping the TOP 100, demonstrating the group’s phenomenal popularity.

For ‘New Artist of the Year,’ it was a two-band battle of boys all year between ZEROBASEONE and RIIZE, with much speculation as to who would win out. In the end, fans for both groups were happy to see the award presented jointly. ZEROBASEONE’s albums ‘YOUTH IN THE SHADE’ and ‘MELTING POINT’ both entered Melon’s ‘Millions Album’ Hall of Fame following their debut, while RIIZE achieved the highest ranking among debut groups in Melon’s TOP 100 daily, weekly, and monthly charts.

In the best artist categories, Jungkook and Lee Young Ji were honored as ‘Best Male Solo’ and ‘Best Female Solo,’ respectively. The ‘Best Music Style Award,’ went to the four-piece band Silica Gel, who rocketed through Melon’s indie music project ‘Track Zero.’ The award shines a spotlight on non-mainstream artists and helps diversify the industry.

Among other special awards, SHINee received ‘Stage of the Year’ for taking their stage performances to another level. Also, STAYC‘s ‘Bubble’ won ‘Music Video of the Year,’ KISS OF LIFE was honored as ‘1theK GLOBAL ICON,’ and ‘J-Pop Favorite Artist’ went to Japan’s imase. BTS picked up the ‘Kakao Bank Favorite Star Award,’ as chosen by customer votes on the Kakao Bank mobile app, and Jungkook won the ‘Hot Trend Award’ for seemingly being everywhere on the music scene this year.

Epic K-Pop Performances

Melon Music Awards are known for legendary stage shows and this year was no exception, with performances interspersed throughout the awards ceremony featuring many of the year’s hottest artists based on the Melon Chart. They all took full advantage of South Korea’s first K-Pop specialized arena.

NewJeans performed every track from their ‘Get Up’ album, with each member highlighting their individuality on stage and encouraging the audience to sing along to familiar hits like ‘Super Shy,’ ‘ETA,’ and ‘Cool With You.’

NCT DREAM took the stage last and showcased fan-favorite ‘Poison (Sand Castle) for the first time live, using a unique giant red cloth setup which got huge cheers from their fanbase in attendance.

Girl group aespa won four awards, including ‘TOP10,’ ‘Millions TOP10,’ ‘Best Performance Female,’ and ‘Global Artist’, and put on an amazing show that paired unique choreography with group members Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning.

IVE, which won three awards, captivated both on-site and global audiences with a light dance performance inspired by mythology alongside the dance crew LACHICA, which was complemented by black and gold stage costumes and large golden flags.

SHINee, celebrating their 15th debut anniversary, gave an energetic performance of a medley of hits including ‘Sherlock,’ ‘View,’ ‘Dream Girl,’ and ‘Everybody,’ followed by ‘Don’t Call Me’ and ‘HARD,’ garnering an enthusiastic response from fans.

J-POP stars also appeared onstage, with breakout sensation imase performing his hit song ‘NIGHT DANCER,’ a track that swept various short-form platforms, for the first time live on Korean broadcast TV. New artists of 2023, including BOYNEXTDOOR, ZEROBASEONE, and RIIZE, also raised the roof with lively performances.

The awards ceremony was graced by the presence of several top stars and actors who presented awards, including Lee Seo Jin, Chun Woo Hee, Jang Ki Yong, Kim Jae Young, Shin Eun Soo, Lee Jun Young, and Lee Chae Min. Also making appearances were creators Kim Min Soo, Lee Yong Ju, and Jeong Jae Hyung from the YouTube channel ‘Psik University,’ Kwak Tube, SNL star Kim Ah Young, Park Jenny, renowned runway model Choi Hyun Joon, and entertainer Hong Jin Kyung, who was celebrating her 30th debut anniversary.

Lee Seo Jin presented some of the top awards and spoke glowingly about all the artists. “Nowadays, when something gains prominence in Korea, the whole world pays attention, and K-Pop is at the forefront of this era, which makes me proud as a fan,” he said. As he introduced ‘Record of the Year,’ he remarked further that “as time passes, K-Pop productions get increasingly challenging, whether it’s a single or an entire album. This award is dedicated to the artists, creators, and staff who navigate this complex process.”

It was a big night for executives at Melon, too. “It was truly meaningful to commemorate this year’s outstanding musical achievements and receive the heartfelt support of fans through the 2020 Melon Music Awards,” said Lee Jae Wook, head of Kakao Entertainment’s Melon Division. “We extend our gratitude to everyone who watched the 2023 Melon Music Awards and will continue to work hard as a leading music platform to elevate the value of music for our fans.”

For previous Melon Music Awards news, please click here: 2022

Award Winners

<Main Awards>

Artist of the Year: NewJeans

Album of the Year: IVE – I’ve IVE

Record of the Year: NCT DREAM

Best Song of the Year: NewJeans – Ditto

New Artist of the Year: ZEROBASEONE / RIIZE


TOP10: (G)I-DLE, aespa, IVE, LE SSERAFIM, NCT DREAM, NewJeans, BTS, SEVENTEEN, Lim Young Woong, Jungkook

Millions TOP10: (G)I-DLE, aespa, IVE, LE SSERAFIM, NCT DREAM, NewJeans, BSS (SEVENTEEN), SEVENTEEN, Lim Young Woong, Jungkook

<Best Awards>

Best Male Solo: Jungkook

Best Female Solo: Lee Young Ji

Best Male Group: NCT DREAM

Best Female Group: NewJeans

Best Music Style: Silica Gel

Best OST: Lim Jae Hyun – Heaven (2023) (It Was Spring OST Part.1)

Best Pop Artist: Charlie Puth

Best Producer: Han Sung Soo

<Special Awards>

Stage of the Year: SHINee

Best Performance (Male): SEVENTEEN

Best Performance (Female): aespa

Global Artist: aespa

Global Rising Artist: BOYNEXTDOOR

J-POP Favorite Artist: imase

Music Video of the Year: STAYC – Bubble

1theK Global Icon: KISS OF LIFE

Songwriter Award: Ryan Jhun

< Popularity Awards>

Hot Trend Award: Jungkook

Kakao Bank Favorite Star Award: BTS