Apple has hosted its first Apple Music Awards, with accolades based on selections by its experts as well as on streaming data reflecting what users have been playing most.
It calls the awards “a celebration of the best and boldest musicians of 2019 and the enormous impact they have had on global culture this year”. The Apple Music Awards honoured achievements in music across five categories, and winners were chosen through a process that reflects the service’s editorial perspective, combined with what customers around the world are listening to the most.
The winners for Global Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year were selected by Apple Music’s global editorial team of experts and tastemakers and given to artists who they say have true skill for their craft. The awards for Album of the Year and Song of the Year were based on streaming data reflecting what Apple Music customers have been listening to (on repeat) this year.
“The Apple Music Awards are designed to recognise the passion, energy and creativity of the world’s favourite artists,” says Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and International Content. “The musically diverse group of inaugural winners have sparked deep social conversation, influenced culture and inspired our customers around the world. We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate them.”
And the winners are…
Artist of the Year: Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is nothing short of a global phenomenon. Her blunt relatability helped turn her full-length debut album WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, co-written and produced by her brother, songwriting prodigy Finneas, into an instant worldwide sensation, and the most played album on Apple Music this year. What followed — selling out her upcoming 2020 WHERE DO WE GO? world arena tour, playing on Saturday Night Live, multiple festivals including Coachella and Glastonbury, and becoming a global style icon — were all “huge moments … that are going to be historic in your life,” she says. “So 2019 has been one big birthday present.”
Additionally, the album was awarded Apple Music’s Album of the Year as the most streamed album of 2019 with more than a billion streams on Apple Music. Billie also received the award for Songwriter of the Year, which went to both her and Finneas.
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Lizzo
This rap and soul supernova redefined the terms and image of pop stardom.
“This is what a breakthrough is all about, babies,” Lizzo tells Apple Music. There’s no point in being humble: It doesn’t get much bigger than Cuz I Love You and its chin-up single Truth Hurts, which dared to ask what pop stars should look and sound like — and whether they should play flute while twerking (which they should). Lizzo’s joyful, bawdy message of self-love is the perfect soundtrack to 2019.
Song of the Year: Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
A true viral sensation, this genre-blurring, homemade anthem became nothing less than the biggest single of 2019 and the most streamed song on Apple Music this year. “I went into the realm of a loner cowboy, needing to run away from everything,” Lil Nas X tells Apple Music. “But I also wanted to put it with what was on the rise, which is the whole meme culture — plus actually making it a listenable, catchy song.” He succeeded: Old Town Road made history and turned Lil Nas X into an overnight superstar.
Apple Music celebrated the inaugural Apple Music Awards on Wednesday, with a performance from Billie Eilish at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, California.
Apple has designed a series of awards to celebrate the extraordinary craftsmanship integral to creating music. Each award features Apple’s custom silicon wafer suspended between a polished sheet of glass and a machined and anodized aluminum body. The wafers start as a perfect 12-inch disc of silicon with nanometer level flatness. Copper layers are deposited and patterned by ultraviolet lithography to create connections between billions of transistors. The result of this multi-month process, before it is sliced into hundreds of individual chips, is stunning and distinctive. In a symbolic gesture, the same chips which power the devices that put the world’s music at its user’s fingertips sit at the heart of the Apple Music Awards.
To catch up on the awards ceremony and its performances, go to the Browse tab of Apple Music.