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What does Apple's 'Best of 2016' reveal about today's musical influences?

Laura  Barnes
What does Apple's 'Best of 2016' reveal about today's musical influences?

Apple Music and iTunes has revealed its ‘Best of 2016’ list, featuring the top selling and streamed albums and songs in the UK.

Apple’s top selling and streamed albums in the UK throughout 2016 were:

1. Drake - Views
2. Adele - 25
3. Various - Now That's What I Call Music 93
4. Various - Now That's What I Call Music 94
5. Justin Bieber - Purpose
6. Coldplay - A Head Full of Dreams
7. The 1975 - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
8. David Bowie - Blackstar
9. Rihanna - ANTI (Deluxe)
10. Sia - This is Acting

Apple’s top selling and streamed singles in the UK throughout 2016 were:
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1. Drake - One Dance
2. Lukas Graham - 7 Years
3. Calvin Harris - This is What You Came For
4. Justin Timberlake - Can’t stop the feeling
5. Calum Scott - Dancing on my Own
6. Mike Posner - I Took a Pill in Ibiza
7. Sia - Cheap Thrills
8. Justin Bieber - Love Yourself
9. Shawn Mendes - Stitches
10. Jonas Blue - Fast Car

Apple also revealed its music editorial picks for the year. With the best album going to Konnichiwa by Skepta and the best song going to Tilted by Christine and the Queens.

What does it mean for the MI market?

Well, my personal opinion is that it shows a big sway towards pop, dance, hip-hop and music generally created by synths, software and samples. This all fits in with the musical trends of the past couple of years that I wrote about last month.

According to Statista, pop music was the most commonly purchased genre in the UK in 2015, accounting for nearly 36% of singles sold in the UK. Rock music represented 23% – not that far behind pop, but closely followed by dance music.

If you look at 2014, BPI reported that pop has 34.5% of the marking, saying the last time pop enjoyed such a success was in 1999.

In 2014, dance music also made a huge comeback, claiming its biggest share in the singles market since 2006.

While Apple’s charts do show the likes of Coldplay and The 1975 representing more traditional band set ups, a lot of the musical styles in the list feature more electronic and dance orientated music, and a mixture of traditional band instruments and computer generated sounds.

Apple’s editorial album choice is in line with this year’s opinion by the music industry that grime is only going to get bigger – another genre that does not typically use the traditional drums, bass, guitar setup.

In fact, it was just a few months back that grime was dubbed the “most potent genre since Britpop” by Spotify UK’s new senior editor of content programming.

Apple’s list is not to be sniffed at, seeing a the firm has also announced that Apple Music now has over 20 million paid subscribers. Couple this with the fact that its rival streaming platform Spotify was actually Apple’s top grossing iPhone app of 2016, and it’s not difficult to see that a huge percentage of current and future musicians – and other people involved in the MI industry – are fully embracing music in this way.

How can the MI market take advantage of all of this?

There’s no doubt that its worth MI retailers and the rest of industry making sure they’re up to date with what’s going on with the musicians that buy their products and influence others to follow in their footsteps.

We’ve already seen the likes of Korg unveil new gear aimed at mobile music makers, and the revival of older physical synths rebuilt into handy software packages, with its Kaossilator and iWAVESTATION products.

This move, along with a huge amount of insanely impressive soft synths and plugins, is making it even easier for young musicians to experiment with music. It’s easier to complete a track that requires no live recording of instruments. And the quality of the finished product is not typically compromised by your budget.

As this trend continues, we’re likely to see electronic, pop, dance and its sub genres thrive in the charts, and the MI industry should be making the most of that as it possibly can.

Tags: korg , itunes , apple , mi market , spotify , Opinion , Apple Music

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