Apple has expanded its unceremonious award tradition with the Apple Music Awards. This year’s winners include Billie Ellish, Lizzo and Lil Nas X.
By Chand Bellur
December 4, 2019 at 4:16 p.m. PDT
Apple Music Award Selection Process
Unlike their App Awards, Apple has outlined the process for selecting top musical talent. Although the rubric is largely arbitrary and subjective, they combine popularity with editorial discretion to choose the best artists of 2019.
This is the first year Apple has awarded musicians with any distinction. Winners are actually given an impressive silicon wafer plaque, in addition to free publicity in Apple Music. The plaque exhibits Apple’s remarkable attention to design — a gorgeous silicon wafer encased in glass and anodized aluminum.
It remains to be seen whether the public needs yet another annual music award “ceremony”. With Christmas shopping and parties at their peak, it’s one of the best times to sell music. The lack of a full-fledged ceremony and the timing give Apple’s music awards more of a mercenary appearance than the Grammys or other similar affairs. Apple will broadcast a live performance from pop artist Billie Ellish to commemorate the occasion.
Best Artist: Billie Ellish
Pop superstar Billie Ellish wins Apple’s best artist distinction. Her hyper-minimalistic pop music, industry looks and luck have propelled her to the top of the charts. Her album WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? was the most streamed album on Apple Music in 2019.
Breakthrough Artist: Lizzo
Discovering new talent is difficult these days. With music production costs dramatically lowered and a public that hungers for fame, musical efforts have exploded. Pop stars abound. If you’re lost in the lurch, Apple has made it easier for you.
Lizzo, this year’s breakthrough artist, offers a blend of rap and soul. Although Lizzo is not a new artist, it took three albums to get the distinction. Her third album, Cuz I Love You, brought her sound to a larger audience, earning her Apple’s 2019 Breakthrough Artist of the Year award.
Song of the Year: “Old Town Road”
If you find a hybrid hip-hop and country music appealing, Apple’s Song of the Year is sure to please. Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” has proven remarkably popular, earning Apple’s Song of the Year award.
Overall, Apple’s new annual music awards are a low key affair. In time, they may eventually develop the grandeur of the Grammys, but for now, it’s another way to sell music.