This weekend, music fans all over the world will tune into The 57th GRAMMY Awards. While we’re busy filling out our predictions and talking about the biggest snubs, the GRAMMYs are a perfect opportunity to look at how the nominees mirror what Rhapsody and Napster members around the world are listening to. It’s also great to see some of the artists that we’ve worked with over the years start to really take off.
Two of those superstars, who have undoubtedly dominated this year in music, are Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. They are quickly defining themselves as two of the most important artists of this decade. Beyoncé is now the most-GRAMMY-nominated woman of all time and Rhapsody’s 2014 Artist of the Year. Meanwhile, Swift released her fifth studio album, *1989, *and stepped out in support of what we’ve believed at Rhapsody from the start, that music holds value and should not be given away for free, by pulling her music from all free streaming services. With the help of her star power this important issue has been put front and center.
Hip-hop remains one of the most contentious categories at the GRAMMYs. Although hip-hop is our most-streamed music genre around the world, very few artists are receiving mainstream recognition outside of big name emcees. HipHopDX refers to this as the emergence of a “hip-hop one percent.” We see massive traffic from key artists like Eminem, Drake, Jay-Z, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne. In fact, five out of the top ten of our most streamed artists in 2014 were hip-hop.
There’s no question that streaming is now mainstream. According to Nielsen, we are listening to more music than ever. It’s just how we’re listening that’s changing. In contrast, independent musicians took over the GRAMMY nominations this year. The American Association of Independent Music reported that more than half of all GRAMMY nominations this year were independent music labels and artists, speaking to the increasing role that streaming services are playing in the discovery and democratization of music.
We’re so excited to be a part of this next era of music and look forward to watching some of our favorites – like Rhapsody Radar musicians Haim and Charli XCX – take the stage on Sunday night. We’ll be tweeting live from the Grammy’s so make sure and follow us @Rhapsody.
For fun, we took a look at Rhapsody subscribers listening habits and found that if the GRAMMYs were based on streams alone, the following artists emerge as the winners.
Record of the Year: Iggy Azalea Feat. Charli XCX – ‘Fancy’
Album of the Year: Ed Sheeran – ‘X’
Song of the Year: Sia – ‘Chandelier’
Best New Artist: Sam Smith
Best Country Album: Dierks Bentley – ‘Riser”
*Data based on Rhapsody International’s 2014 user data