Apple is getting even more involved in the music game with its debut of the first-ever “Apple Music Awards.” Announced alongside its Best Apps of 2019 today, the Apple Music Awards is intended to be “a celebration of the best and boldest musicians of 2019 and the enormous impact they have had on global culture this year.”
Apple has already published an Apple Music Awards page on Apple Music, listing the winners across five different categories: Global Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year. Since it’s directly on Apple Music, the page also features links to songs, albums, playlists, videos, and more in each category, as well as background and biographical information on each of the artists.
According to Apple, the winning artists were hand-selected by Apple Music’s global editorial team, while the picks for Album of the Year and Song of the Year were based simply on streaming data, and “reflective of what Apple Music customers have been listening to (on repeat) this year.”
Global Artist of the Year
Apple’s Award for Global Artist of the Year for 2019 goes to Billie Eilish, whose full-length debut album, WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? also took the award for the Album of the Year.
As Apple notes, “her blunt relatability helped turn her full-length debut album into an instant worldwide sensation,” quickly vaulting it to the most-played album on Apple Music, and subsequently selling out her upcoming world arena tour and playing at multiple festivals such as Coachella and Glastonbury.
Billie’s album, WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? was streamed more than a billion times on Apple Music, and was co-written and produced by her brother, FINNEAS, who will also be sharing the Songwriter of the Year award with his sister.
Breakthrough Artist of the Year
In addition to the top artist overall, Apple has created an additional category to recognize a “breakthrough” artist, which it describes as “redefining the terms of image of pop stardom” in this case, with rap artist Lizzo receiving the award as a result of her hits that includedCuz I Love You and Truth Hurts, which “dared to ask what pop stars should look and sound like.”
Song of the Year
Although Billie Eilish’s had the most streamed album on Apple Music, the song that was played the most turned out to be Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road. According to Lil Nas X, the song combines the realm of a loner cowboy who “wants to run away from everything” with meme culture to create a “listenable, catchy song” that turned the artist into an overnight superstar.
The Awards Event
Although Apple has already announced the winners, the company will actually be holding an inaugural Apple Music Awards gala tomorrow evening at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, which will include a bespoke performance from Billie Eilish that promises to be “unlike anything ever seen from this unanimously crowned Artist of the Year.” The event will also be streamed live on Apple Music starting at 6:30 p.m. PST on Dec. 4.
Apple also notes that it’s designed a series of unique awards to present to the winning artists, which “celebrate the extraordinary craftsmanship integral to creating music.” Each award will feature Apple’s custom silicon wafer suspended between a polished sheet of glass and a machined and anodized aluminum body.
In a symbolic gesture, the same chips which power the devices that put the world’s music at your fingertips sit at the very heart of the Apple Music Awards.
The custom 12-inch silicon wafer is made from the same chips that power the company’s iPhones and iPads, reflecting the new way of consuming music, but the design is clearly inspired by the classic vinyl-themed awards that have been given to artists for many years, but with a new spin for the digital age.