2015 was a big year for music news. Beloved musicians returned to the spotlight, new stars emerged and old feuds were put to rest. With everything that has happened in the past 12 months, it can be hard to keep it all straight. Who won the Grammys in February? What songs were you jamming to in July? Which country star made it big after years of paying his dues?
To help you remember, here are eight of the biggest music industry moments in 2015.
Sam Smith Sweeps the Grammys
We all knew Sam Smith was popular, but the 57th Annual Grammy Awards solidified this English singer-songwriter’s fame. After hearing “Stay with Me” on the radio countless times, it’s no surprise that this emotionally-charged track won Song of the Year. Smith also hauled home Record of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album. Ever since the awards show, Smith seems to have become magnetic for awards and honors. He also received the British Breakthrough Act and broke a Guinness World Record for “Writing’s on the Wall” when it became the first James Bond theme song to reach No. 1 in the United Kingdom. 2015 was truly Sam Smith’s year.
Hit of the Summer: “Uptown Funk!”
Summer is the time for relaxing at the beach while listening to your favorite songs. Every summer has its hit song, and for 2015, that jam was “Uptown Funk!” This throwback to the ’70s was Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ fourth collaboration together. The song spent 14 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and inspired many parodies and remix videos. Something about those retro electro-funk vibes certainly spoke to those enjoying a carefree summer.
Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s VMA Reunion
“I’m sorry, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” Everyone remembers the infamous words that Kanye West dropped at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, interrupting Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video. However, it seems there’s no longer any bad blood between these two mega stars. Taylor Swift even presented West with the Michael Jackson Video Award at the 2015 VMAs and called him one of the greatest artists of all time. Maybe 2016 will be the year of forgiveness — take note, Madonna and Elton John.
RIAA Unveils Logo for High-Res Audio
In June, the Recording Association of America (RIAA) created an official High-Resolution Audio logo at the request of Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The logo is now being used by high-resolution music downloading sites to help consumers identify the highest quality music downloads. Now, those who download songs from Acoustic Sounds, Blue Coast Music, HDtracks, Qobuz and more can quickly recognize which tracks will virtually transport them into the recording studios of their favorite artists.
Adele’s Record-breaking Comeback
Everyone’s favorite British diva was on hiatus from the music scene for three years before she came bursting her way back onto the charts with another tear-jerking ballad. Adele’s “Hello” sold 1.11 million copies in its first week and set a record for first-day video streaming on YouTube, exceeding 23.2 million views. In November, Adele released “25” — a complement to her last album released in 2011, “21.” She certainly knows how to make an entrance. One thing’s for sure, Adele’s back.
High-Res Audio Equipment on the Rise
The most recent audio-inspired Consumer Technology Association (CTA) study, “Consumers Journey to Purchase: Audio,” reported that more than 53 percent of consumers who purchased audio equipment in the past year are interested in High-Resolution Audio. The study also found that music enthusiasts and audiophiles represent the best potential customers for High-Res Audio. How are these music fans enjoying their High-Resolution Music? It turns out that headphones are the most popular audio product to buy (69 percent), followed by portable speakers (9 percent) and sound bars (6 percent).
Sony Brings High-Res Audio to Music Fans
Sony brought everyone the joy of listening to High-Res Audio this year by installing 80 High-Resolution Music listening stations at Best Buy’s Magnolia Design Centers. These listening stations feature the Walkman® portable music players, headphone amplifiers and more. And for the music lovers out there, the stations also feature artist discographies, video testimonials and an easy way to sign up for an account with music downloading site HDtracks.
Breakout Artist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
If you haven’t been paying attention to the Nashville music scene, you might not have heard of Chris Stapleton. That is, until he won the Country Music Television Artists of the Year Breakout Award as well as three other awards at the Country Music Awards. Stapleton is a song-writing veteran who has been part of the Nashville crowd for years, but 2015 was his year to bask in the spotlight. He even got to share that spotlight with the latest pop star to go country, Justin Timberlake. What a way to wrap up the year!
Now that you’re all caught up with music industry news for 2015, it’s on to a new year. We’re looking forward to all the new music, newfound friendships and broken records to come in 2016.