As 2018 winds down to a close, it is the season to look back on the best of the year.

Korean media outlets News1 and dongA both surveyed various industry professionals to gather their opinions on the year’s top K-pop artists, rookies, producers, and more.

News1 surveyed the following 25 executives from entertainment agencies:

Kim Byung Sun (Jellyfish Entertainment), Kim Sook Kyung (Jellyfish Entertainment), Kim Yeon Soo (Pledis Entertainment), Kim Eun Ah (SM Entertainment), Park Gye Eun (TS Entertainment), Park Yong Eok (Million Market), Baek Chang Ju (C-JeS Entertainment), Seo Hyun Joo (Starship Entertainment), So Sung Jin (Source Music), Shin Dong Gil (Swing Entertainment), Shin Hyun Hwa (The Music Works), Shim Jae Geol (YG Entertainment), Woo Young Seung (Stardium), Yoon Young Ro (Cre.ker Entertainment), Lee Sang Chul (Long Play Music), Lee Young Joon (Woollim Entertainment), Lee Won Min (WM Entertainment), Jang Hyung Chul (QUAN Entertainment), Jung Wook (JYP Entertainment), Jung Jin Ho (Big Hit Entertainment), Jung Hyung Jin (CJ ENM), Jo Sung Wan (FNC Entertainment), Choi Kyu Sang (Amoeba Culture), Choi Sung Pil (Plan A Entertainment), Han Jung Soo (Kiwi Media Group)

Of the 25 executives, 21 voted for BTS as the artist of the year. Their comments include, “Is a reason necessary in choosing BTS?” and, “Not only did they make Korea’s music known to the world, but they also acted as cultural presidents through campaigns that share meaningful messages with youth.”

For the greatest incident of the year, 18 of the 25 chose a BTS-related event including their UN speech and first place on the Billboard 200.

On the best new female artist of the year, 14 of the 25 chose (G)I-DLE, and 10 chose IZ*ONE. Representatives commented, “(G)I-DLE has grown into a group with their own identity as they succeeded through albums made with their self-written music,” and, “The members have outstanding skills.”

Stray Kids received seven votes as the best new male artist, while The Boyz took six votes. Comments on Stray Kids include, “Not only did they actively promote this year with four albums including their pre-debut album, but their global fandom is also strong,” and, “The group has the ambition and passion of rookies, and the members each have excellent individuality and skills. Their powerful dancing and performances are strengthening their fandom.”

In a separate survey done by dongA, 21 professionals including entertainment agency executives, music critics, magazine editors, producers, and more were asked for their opinions on various topics.

The following 21 representatives were surveyed:

Kim Ah Reum (W Korea), Kim Hong Ki (Space Oddity), Lee In Sub (Universal Music Korea), Clayton Jin (Warner Music Korea), Kim Hong Bum (KBS), Jung Young Sun (MBC), Choi Da Eun (SBS), Kim Eun Ah (SM Entertainment), Shim Jae Geol (YG Entertainment), Jung Wook (JYP Entertainment), Jung Jin Ho (Big Hit Entertainment), Jo Sung Wan (FNC Entertainment), music critics Kang Il Kwon, Kim Yoon Ha, Kim Hak Sun, Mimyo, Park Joon Woo, Baek Soon Tak, Seo Jeong Min Gap, Lee Kyung Joon, Lee Dae Hwa

Their responses to the questions were as follows:

Song of the Year

1. iKON “Love Scenario” (11 votes)
2. BLACKPINK “DDU-DU DDU-DU” (7 votes)
3. BTS “Fake Love” (6 votes)

Best Korean Artist

1. BTS (16 votes)
2. IU (13 votes)
3. TWICE (7 votes)
4. Cho Yong Pil (5 votes)
5. Jay Park (3 votes)

Best Korean Songwriter

1. Teddy (8 votes)
2. Black Eyed Pilseung (5 votes)
3. Shinsadong Tiger, Yoon Jong Shin (4 votes each)

Best K-pop Producer

1. Bang Shi Hyuk (11 votes)
2. Teddy (10 votes)
3. Pdogg (6 votes)
4. Lee Soo Man (4 votes)

Next Generation Rising Artist

1. (G)I-DLE (8 votes)
2. NU’EST, Stray Kids, IZ*ONE, NCT, Shaun, Nafla, HAON, Yang Da Il, Youra, George (2 votes each)

Next Generation Songwriter/Producer

1. Zico (5 votes)
2. GroovyRoom (4 votes)
3. (G)I-DLE’s Soyeon (3 votes)

Entertainment Agency to Grow Most in 2019

1. Big Hit Entertainment (9 votes)
2. Pledis Entertainment (6 votes)
3. YG Entertainment and The Black Label (5 votes)
4. SM Entertainment, Brand New Music (3 votes each)

Source (1) (2) (3)