Koreans Vote For Their Favorite Artists And Songs Of 2021

Gallup Korea has revealed the results of its annual survey of the most loved artists and songs of the year.

Research company Gallup Korea conducted three rounds of surveys, one in July and August, one in September and October, and one in November, asking 5,103 people all over the country (except Jeju Island) over the age of 13 to name their three favorite popular singers or groups that were active or notable this year. The people were allowed to name their own choice of answers.

Among people under 40 (13-39) years old, BTS was first with 45.6 percent of the vote. Among people over 40 years old, Lim Young Woong was first with 36.3 percent of the vote.

Since their debut in 2013, BTS has become one of the most influential artists in the world, continuously setting new records in the global popular music market. In 2021, they released the hit single “Butter,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and was chosen by several media outlets as one of the songs of the year. Their other 2021 release, “Permission to Dance,” received attention for incorporating international sign language in its choreography. Recently, the group was the first Asian artist to win Artist of the Year at the 2021 American Music Awards. 2021 marks the fourth time in a row that BTS placed first in Gallup Korea’s artists/singers/songs survey.

Second in the under-40 age bracket was IU with 32.1 percent of the vote. IU made her debut in 2008 and has become a well-rounded artist known for her acting skills as well as her singer-songwriter abilities. Since 2011, she has regularly ranked within the top 10 in Gallup Korea’s artist/singers/songs survey, and ranked first in 2014 and 2017. In 2021, she enjoyed chart success with songs like “LILAC,” “NAKKA” (with AKMU), and “strawberry moon.”

The top ten singers in the under-40 age bracket were as follows:

  1. BTS (45.6 percent)
  2. IU (32.1 percent)
  3. BLACKPINK (10.4 percent)
  4. Lee Mujin (9.2 percent)
  5. Lim Young Woong (7.0 percent)
  6. aespa (6.5 percent)
  7. TWICE (5.3 percent)
  8. AKMU (tied with 5.2 percent)
  9. Taeyeon (tied with 5.2 percent)
  10. Brave Girls (4.3 percent)

Other singers mentioned by the under-40 bracket include SG Wannabe (3.9 percent), Oh My Girl and Red Velvet (3.7 percent), Heize (3.2 percent), Young Tak (2.5 percent), Paul Kim and MSG Wannabe (2.4 percent), Jeong Dong Won and Jo Jung Suk (2.3 percent), Jang Beom June (2.2 percent), Jeon Somi (2.1 percent), and EXO (2.0 percent).

This is the second year in a row that Lim Young Woong has ranked first in this survey for the over-40 age bracket. Lim Young Woong is a trot singer who made his debut in 2016 and rose to national fame after becoming the winner of TV Chosun’s hit audition program “Mister Trot.” Over the past two years, he has released successful songs like “Trust in Me,” “HERO,” “My Starry Love,” and most recently “Love Always Run Away.”

Second in the over-40 age bracket was Young Tak with 18.9 percent of the vote. Young Tak is a trot singer who was the runner-up on “Mister Trot.” He is a singer, songwriter, and producer who often makes music for other artists in addition to his own music. He is known for popular songs like “A Glass of Makgeolli,” “Jjin-iya,” and “Why Are You Coming Out From There?” He recently won an award at the Seoul Drama Awards 2021 for his “Revolutionary Sisters” OST “Okay.”

The top ten singers in the over-40 age bracket were as follows:

  1. Lim Young Woong (36.3 percent)
  2. Young Tak (18.9 percent)
  3. Jang Yoon Jung (13.5 percent)
  4. Na Hoon Ah (11.7 percent)
  5. BTS (10.2 percent)
  6. Lee Chan Won (9.4 percent)
  7. Jeong Dong Won (8.8 percent)
  8. Jang Min Ho (8.5 percent)
  9. Jin Sung (8.2 percent)
  10. Song Ga In (7.6 percent)

Notably, BTS is the only artist in the top 10 of the over-40 age bracket who is not a trot singer. All nine of the other artists are trot singers, a genre of Korean pop music known for its distinctive singing style with vocal inflections that was mostly popular in the 1960s and 70s. The genre has recently seen a resurgence in Korea, particularly among older audiences, with the success of audition shows like “Mister Trot” and “Miss Trot.”

Other singers mentioned by the over-40 bracket include IU (7.2 percent), Kim Yeon Ja (4.1 percent), Kim Ho Joong (3.6 percent), Yang Ji Eun (2.6 percent), Cho Yong Pil (2.3 percent), Park Goon (2.2 percent), Nam Jin (2.1 percent), and Kim Yong Im and Lee Sun Hee (2.0 percent).

In addition to their favorite singers, the people surveyed were asked to name three of their favorite songs of the year, either released or otherwise notable in 2021.

In the under-40 age bracket (13-39 years old), BTS’s “Butter” placed first with 26.6 percent of the vote. In the over-40 age bracket, Lim Young Woong’s “Trust in Me” placed first with 8.7 percent of the vote.

The top 10 songs of the under-40 age bracket are as follows:

  1. BTS’s “Butter” (26.6 percent)
  2. BTS’s “Dynamite” (9.6 percent)
  3. IU’s “LILAC” (9.3 percent)
  4. Lee Mujin’s “Traffic light” (8.1 percent)
  5. AKMU and IU’s “NAKKA” (6.5 percent)
  6. aespa’s “Next Level (5.1 percent)
  7. Taeyeon’s “Weekend” (3.6 percent)
  8. MSG Wannabe (M.O.M)’s “Foolish Love” (tied at 3.5 percent)
  9. BTS’s “Permission to Dance” (tied at 3.5 percent)
  10. IU’s “Through the Night” (3.1 percent)

BTS and IU proved their popularity not only by placing multiple songs in the top 10, but also by having two older releases (“Dynamite” and “Through the Night”) appear in a list that is predominantly new 2021 releases.

The top 10 songs of the over-40 age bracket are as follows:

  1. Lim Young Woong’s “Trust in Me” (8.7 percent)
  2. Young Tak’s “A Glass of Makgeolli” (8.1 percent)
  3. Na Hoon Ah’s “Tes Hyung!” (6.6 percent)
  4. Lim Young Woong’s “My Starry Love” (6.3 percent)
  5. Young Tak’s “Jjin-iyah” (5.7 percent)
  6. BTS’s “Butter” (4.8 percent)
  7. Jin Sung’s “At Andong Station” (4.2 percent)
  8. Lim Young Woong’s “A Purple Postcard” (tied at 4.0 percent)
  9. Jang Yoon Jung’s “Calling the Soul” (tied at 4.0 percent)
  10. Jin Sung’s “Period of Spring Poverty (3.4 percent)

Again, BTS’s “Butter” is the only song in the top 10 of the over-40 age bracket that is not a trot song. This is the first time that so many trot songs have dominated the top 10 in Gallup Korea’s annual survey. From 2007 to 2014, there were no trot songs in the top 10. From 2015 to 2017, there were two in the top 10, and three in 2018. 2019 set a new record with six songs in the top 10. While many of these songs were released years or decades ago, they gained new popularity in 2020 and 2021 after being covered on shows like “Miss Trot” and “Mister Trot.”

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