Music makers who ruled in 2015

11_Music makers who ruled in 2015

Danielle McGrane


(Australian Associated Press)

In the world of pop music it seems one hand giveth while the other taketh away.

Adele finally returned after a four-year gap while her British brethren One Direction announced their break.

The industry’s contentious issue of copyright got a little less blurred following the ruling in Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s legal stoush with Marvin Gaye’s family.

And Aussies Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala were each nominated for Grammys, topping off a great year for the local artists.

THE YEAR BELONGS TO: Adele, she had us at Hello.

A four-year gap between records made Adele’s 25 one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year. At a time where musicians are struggling to sell whole albums, Adele managed to break records with the sale of her third one. While offloading millions of copies, the British singer became the first person this year to have both the No.1 single and No.1 album at the same time in the Australian ARIA charts.

Just three weeks after the album’s release, the record had sold more than 5 million copies in the US, according to Nielsen Music.

BOY BAND DRAMA: Zayn Malik left One Direction.

Fans were devastated in March when the band announced Malik was leaving to live a normal life and pursue a solo career. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the remaining four members played their last gig in November before a year-long hiatus. The boys released their fifth record, Made in the AM, the same day Justin Bieber released his new album, Purpose. Biebs took out the top spot on the US and Australia album charts while 1D won the sales on home turf in the UK.


AC/DC’s Rock or Bust entranced millions globally and landed back in Australia in November but without one member, Malcolm Young. The guitar hero is suffering from dementia, leaving brother Angus as the last original member to rock the Aussie crowds.

Pop superstar Taylor Swift came Down Under for her 1989 tour. Kicking it off to one of her biggest crowds at Sydney’s ANZ stadium, 76,000 in total, she proved herself more than capable, putting on one of the biggest pop shows the country has ever seen.

Madonna finally deemed Australia and New Zealand worthy of her presence. The veteran singer announced her first tour of Australia in more than 20 years. She will bring her Rebel Heart tour to us in March.

AUSSIE HEROES: Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett.

Courtney Barnett, the Melbourne-based troubadour, won hearts and minds with her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit. It even won her a surprise Grammy nomination in the Best New Artist category.

The third record by Perth band Tame Impala, Currents, launched the group back into the charts and netted it a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album.

The group also scooped ARIA Awards, winning Album of the Year and Best Group.


While Joy brought us the infectious earworm Riptide, Brisbane’s Jarryd James gave us Do You Remember?

James’s hit made its way into our ears, and our hearts, via a powerful ad for the University of Western Sydney. He unsurprisingly won Best Pop Release at the ARIAs and is ready to step into Joy’s “Best Male” shoes at next year’s ceremony.

THE YEAR OF LAWSUITS: The lines between who wrote a very popular hit song, and who ripped it off, are no longer blurred, after a jury in California decided that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams ripped off Marvin Gaye.

The duo, who released the No.1 hit Blurred Lines, was found guilty of ripping off Gaye’s 1977 song, Got to Give It Up, and ordered to pay more than $7 million to Gaye’s family. Thicke and Williams are appealing the ruling.

The untouchable Taylor Swift was also almost sued by musician Jessie Braham who claimed the lyrics from her hit Shake It Off were actually stolen from his song, Hater’s Gone Hate.

The case was dismissed. However, the real hero of the case was US District Court judge Gail Standish, who used lyrics from Swift in her ruling.

“At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court,” Standish wrote, according to Vanity Fair.


Sivan’s debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, charts his upbringing in Perth suburbia, but has made him a global sensation. Sivan had already amassed more than 3.6 million followers to his YouTube channel where he wears his heart on his sleeve and his fans can’t get enough of it. No doubt they will be out in their droves for his 27-date Australian and US tour.

STREAMING: Hotline year for Drake.

The most streamed artist of the year, according to Spotify, was Canadian rapper Drake who was streamed 1.8 billion times, beating Ed Sheeran – last year’s most streamed artist.

Sheeran was No.2 but still maintained his title of most streamed artist of all time with more than 3 billion streams to date.

2016 WILL BELONG TO: Tkay Maidza, Alison Wonderland and Gang Of Youth.

Alison Wonderland, the Sydney DJ/producer, released her debut album, Run, with featured artists including Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips. She will dominate the world of EDM in 2016.

Adelaide hip-hop star Tkay Maidza wowed audiences on a UK tour and stole hearts at Splendour In The Grass. There will be no escaping her when she puts out her anticipated debut album.

Gang Of Youths is raucous, raw and everything a rock band should be. The Sydney band’s debut release, The Positions, provides the perfect foil for a market saturated by electronic beats and synth-heavy riffs.


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