It's that time of year again! I want to get this done while I'm on holidays, so it's an opportune time to start.
Firstly a recap of last year's top ten...
Top 10 of 2016
01. Tom Odell - Magnetised
02. Delta Goodrem - Enough ft Gizzle
03. Adele - When We Were Young
04. Mike Posner - Be As You Are (Remix)
05. Adele - Water Under The Bridge
06. The Chainsmokers - Closer ft Halsey
07. The Chainsmokers - Don't Let Me Down ft Daya
08. Lady Gaga - Million Reasons
09. Delta Goodrem - Heavy
10. Meghan Trainor - No
2017: Music Year in Review
In 2017, we saw the music scene start to transition away from the "tropical pop" sound that dominated 2015-16. Although this sound was still very much present in the earlier months of the year, such as Ed Sheeran's mammoth hit 'Shape of You'. If you were going to collaborate in 2017, oh boy did you collaborate. We had some ridiculous song credits to type out such as these hits...
• DJ Khaled - I'm The One ft Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper & Lil Wayne
• Luis Fonsi - Despacito (Remix) ft Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber
• Calvin Harris - Feels ft Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean
• David Guetta & Afrojack - Dirty Sexy Money ft Charli XCX & French Montana
• Louis Tomlinson - Back To You ft Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals
You could be forgiven for thinking we had transported back to the late 90s, as latino-flavoured pop was en vogue. 'Despacito' was already a massive hit in Spanish-speaking countries when it was first released in January. The song already had about 500 million views on YouTube before the storm came, the Bieber remix. The remix pushed the song into English-speaking territories and was a colossal hit, now sitting at a whopping 4.5 billion views for the main video and 600 million for the Bieber audio track. This spurred on more latino success and copycat marketing strategies. J Balvin & Willy William got Beyoncé to push 'Mi Gente' further and CNCO got Little Mix to push 'Reggaton Lento' into the UK market.
We can't discuss 'Despacito' without also discussing the aforementioned 'Shape of You', as you could argue which was the bigger hit of the year. 'Shape of You' had several factors working in its favour:
a) Ed Sheeran is very popular
b) It was a lead single from an anticipated album
c) A copied its beat from 2016 hit 'Cheap Thrills'
d) It got in on the tropical pop bandwagon just before it died and;
e) An unintentional but acknowledged TLC interpolation
The song is now one the biggest hits of all-time. Some of its credentials include:
• 3 billion+ views on YouTube
• 15 weeks at #1 in Australia, 14 weeks at #1 in the UK, 12 weeks at #1 in the USA
• Most streamed song of all-time on Spotify
...I don't even like the song, but kudos to Ed!
2017 was not really the year for female popstars, with just a sprinkling of hits from the a-list of pop princesses. Some new generation females did firmly establish themselves as hit makers, such as Camila Cabello, Hailee Steinfeld, Dua Lipa & Alessia Cara, but none were able to cause a stir like we've seen in past years with artists like Adele, Taylor Swift or back-in-the-day, Britney Spears.
Streaming reigned supreme in 2017 as the album format stumbled on its last legs and digital downloads dipped their toes in the grave. Spotify playlists became the BBC Radio 1 playlists of old - a way to guarantee yourself an audience and get the best chance of a hit. Of course, Spotify isn't the be-all, end-all of hit making, none of these platforms ever are, but darn is it much harder to get a hit without Spotify helping you out.
In the world of streaming, urban music is considerably more popular than it ever was amongst paid digital downloads. Artists such as Future, French Montana, Post Malone and the evergreen Drake, expanded their reach considerably, breaking into charts all around the world. Tracks were able to break the top twenty without even cracking the top 40 on iTunes or getting any radio play. This marks a shift in the chart landscape that will only continue to change in 2018 onward.
2017 marked the year of One Direction solo careers, as each member dropped music in an attempt to establish themselves outside the group. Zayn continued over his previous success with a #1 hit early in the year ('I Don't Wanna Live Forever'), whilst Harry Styles took a more serious route, releasing a classic rock album that may not light up the charts, but establish him as a serious performer. Liam Payne tried to promote himself as the Justin Timberlake for the new generation and it worked momentarily ('Strip That Down' was a huge international hit), but has since struggled with underperformances from 'Get Low' and 'Bedroom Floor'. Niall Horan proved himself the surprise package of the group, the underdog achieved a worldwide hit with 'Slow Hands', after the modest success of lead single 'This Town'. Finally, Louis Tomlinson struggled to establish his sound, dabbling first with Steve Aoki ('Just Hold On'), before landing a hit largely thanks to Bebe Rexha on 'Back To You'. Perhaps what is most striking about all of this was that all five members of the group have been able to achieve at least one hit single each. Not since the Spice Girls have we seen such solo success to come out of a group. Who will be in for the long run though?
Music pundits often predict a comeback for rock music, but 2017 certainly wasn't that year. Production continued to be dominated by electronic producers and the closest thing to traditional bands on the charts are Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5.
Coming Up Next: The bubbling under chart