As the world rings in the first week of 2019, take a look at the year in music of 2018.
Drake topped the Billboard charts with his single, “God’s Plan,” early in the year, making it the number one most streamed song of 2018, followed by Post Malone’s (featuring 21 Savage,) “Rockstar.” See the Top 10 Streamed Songs of 2018.
Popularity of streaming sites grew this past year, with Spotify and Apple Music leading as the top music streaming sites for listeners around the globe. Total streaming revenue continued to grow, surpassing half of all record labels income.
Spotify went public on Wall Street in April raising much needed capital to continue to grow their business and allowing early investors and employees of the music-streaming site to sell shares at their own discretion.
Spotify also made moves that could be viewed as a threat to record labels and distributors by reportedly signing direct licensing deals with some independent artists.
Satellite radio company, Sirius XM’s business model was widely doubted during the year, though its earnings neared close to $1B. Sirius made moves to acquire Pandora, which is expected to close in early 2019 to position itself as a more dominant player in a streaming world.
In October, the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was signed into law, modernizing copyright regulation for the purpose of benefiting songwriters and artists, whom were not being fairly compensated for revenues following the emergence of digital streaming platforms or due to the age of their music.
In other music news of 2018, Taylor Swift was dubbed Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, making her the most decorated female artist of all time. Camila Cabello’s “Havana” took the win for Best Video at MTV’s Video Music Awards, beating out Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” despite receiving seven nominations. In November, Keith Urban received Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards.
Bruno Mars with 24K Magic won Album of the year and Record of the year at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The Recording Academy announced the 2019 nominees in December with names like Drake, Cardi B, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, Post Malone and others vying for those same two categories.
In August, the world lost the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Mourners gathered in her hometown of Detroit to celebrate her life and legacy at a ten-hour service that included many musical performances by celebrity-artists, as well as a speech made by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Other artists lost in 2018 include: Avicii, Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, blues musician Eddie Clearwater, Richard Swift of the Black Keys, singer and musician Roy Clark, Mac Miller, and rapper XXXTentacion.