Before starting: here’s an article to summarize what are music shows and what the scoring standards to determine the song that win that week:
Recently, Wikipedia has made the decision to remove all music show wins of K-pop artists from their pages due to the fact that they think it’s not “significant”, only equivalent to what Westerners would call trending #1 on a music chart and thus not a “real” award. Even with the proliferation of music shows in recent years (the additions of Show Champion and The Show giving a possible 6 shows to get wins from, compared to just 3 as recently as 2015) making it relatively easier to win a music show these days compared to just a few years ago, music show wins are still very much a very unique feature of the K-pop industry and can’t simply be compared to a Western songs becoming #1 on a chart. Why? Here’s an article explaining some of the main reasons why. Basically, appearing and winning on Korean music shows have a huge impact on groups, especially newer/nugu groups, even though the outfits and transportation costs can go up to $10,000 per episode. Appearance fees can increase drastically (up to 10-fold) after a music show win, and the number of CFs a group has can also drastically increase. An example given in the article is Girl’s Day winning their first win on Music Bank in 2014 (note: this is actually wrong as Girl’s Day actually won their first show in 2013 on Inkigayo for Female President, but the broadcast was cut). Their number of CFs went from 4 to more than 20 offered. Even just appearing on the shows can multiply the appearance fees of the group several times.
This isn’t to say music show wins are the most important things in determining the future of a group. A group still has to make the company money in order to keep going, and that depends much more heavily on other factors than just music show wins. In addition, music show wins aren’t very important for already big groups. However, music show wins are still a very important measuring stick for many, many newer or smaller groups, a standard to show that they’ve reached a certain level of success. It has a much bigger impact on a group’s future, especially if they’re not a big group, than does charting number 1 on a music chart would have for a Western artist (as all the one-hit wonders every year can attest to).