The Year In Branding: Top Tours And Festivals Got Closer With Sponsors This Year
The Year In Branding: Top Tours And Festivals Got Closer With Sponsors This Year

Year In Music

DECEMBER 9, 2011
2011: The Year the Music Business Turned A Corner?
Four majors become three and play a an epic (pun intended) game of musical chairs with top execs. The indie world finally takes its place at the big table. The battle for control of music in the digital clouds is in full swing; the new music business continued being born in a dizzying swirl of startups. Spotify Warner Music EMI Facebook Doug Morris L.A. Reid Google Converse Amazon Barry Weiss Bon Iver Beats by Dre and more -- what a year it's been to cover the music business...


DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Interview
'21' And Up: Adele's Billboard Cover Story
This year, pop music was dominated by pop art. But then there was Adele, who represented something like austerity. She's raw in every way, whether regaling fans from the stage or channeling emotion through her unforgettable alto on wax. Still, how did a hyper-real, refreshingly thick, British singer manage to captivate-and subvert-a notoriously difficult American pop audience?

DECEMBER 9, 2011
'21,' By The Numbers: Billboard Breaks Down Adele's Breakout Sophomore Release
352,000 first-week copies sold, 39 straight weeks in the top five of the the Billboard 200 and 13 weeks at No.1. Read more surprising statistics in our numerical breakdown of Adele's "21"...


DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Country
The Year In Country
Observers and advertisers have generally viewed country consumers as behind the curve in their consumption of digital media. But after a landmark 2011, it may be time to retire that perception. As of early November, sales of digital country albums were up 29.7% from a year earlier and sales of the 10 top-selling country digital songs of the year were a whopping 32% ahead of the 2010 pace.

DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Dance
The Beat Generation: Electronic Dance Music Is Rapidly Becoming The New Sound Of Young America
Forget disco, C+C Music Factory, Fatboy Slim or the Chemical Brothers: 2011 will go down as the year when America finally tuned in and dropped out to electronic dance music. It wasn't about a single sound or style, or an exclusionary "underground" ethic. The dance revolution of 2011 was for everyone. And if momentum is any kind of barometer, this time it might be here to stay.


DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Touring
The Year In Touring
Surprising no one, the final leg of U2's record-shattering 360 tour was enough to make U2 the top touring act of 2011, with $293.3 million in box office and nearly 3 million in ticket sales. Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Kenny Chesney also made the list of top tours in 2011.

DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Branding
The Year In Branding: Top Tours And Festivals Got Closer With Sponsors This Year
The abundance of close relationships between major acts and major brands on the touring circuit would've seemed absurd even two years ago. But the brutal touring season of 2010 necessitated many changes this year, with a number of major summer runs canceled or significantly scaled back due to poor sales-full-year attendance was down 12% compared with 2009.

Hip Hop

DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Hip-Hop
The Year In Hip-Hop: Cash Money Records Senior VP Mel Smith On Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj & The Label's Big Year
This year finds rap music in its strongest space-artistically, at retail and on the road-since the economic and creative boom of the late '90s. Hitmakers Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj are all part of the fourth-generation rap dynasty that is Cash Money Records, the driving force of the hip-hop culture business. The label's senior VP of promotion, Mel Smith provides insight into hip-hop's hit-making machine.

DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Charts
2011 Year In Charts

Billboard's Year in Music special issue offers the definitive recap of the songs, albums, artists, labels, tours and other music makers that have fared the best during the past year.


DECEMBER 9, 2011 | POP
The Year In Pop: Adele Makes Pop History; Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga Score In The Year Of The Women

For the first time, a woman earns three of Billboard's biggest year-end honors: No. 1 on Top Artists, No. 1 on Top Billboard 200 Titles and No. 1 on Hot 100 Songs. The woman, of course, is Adele. Also in 2011, for the first time, all four of the top artists on the year-end recap are solo female acts. Following Adele are Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Truly, it was the year of the woman on Billboard's pop charts.

DECEMBER 9, 2011
Record Label Shake Ups, Sales Make For A Tumultuous Year In The Music Industry
With the sale of Warner Music Group, the planned sale and breakup of EMI Group and the installation of new management at each of the three surviving majors, 2011 was a year of seismic shifts in the major-label landscape.

DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Digital & Mobile
Spotify, Mog, Rdio: Subscription Services Ride Freemium To New Heights
The most important digital music developments of 2011 have a sum greater than their parts. When combined with the world's biggest social network, the "freemium" business model helped give music subscriptions services a much-needed kick in the pants.

December 9, 2011 | Interview
Year In Music: XL's Richard Russell On Adele, Six Grammy Noms, What's Next (Bobby Womack)
2011 was a phenomenal year for Richard Russell and XL Recordings, the London-based indie label he co-founded in 1989 and now runs. Adele's "21," has a banner year selling 4.67 million units in the U.S. and receiving 6 Grammy nominations, including album of the year. Other notable 2011 releases, include albums by Radiohead, Tyler, The Creator and The Horrors. Biz caught up Russell to talk about Adele, XL's ethos and the label's plans for the future.

DECEMBER 9, 2011 | Retail
Labels Like 2011's CD Numbers...Except The One On The Bottom Line
Label executives may gnash their teeth about the razor-thin profit margins they derive from the $5 CD, but they like the sales bump that this year's new popular consumer item is giving the industry. Some label sales and distribution executives credit the $5 CD with reclaiming floor space previously lost to other product lines in big-box stores. Some even predict the $5 CD will help extend the life of CDs at such retailers.

DECEMBER 9, 2011
In Memoriam

In memoriam of all who passed away this year: Gone but never forgotten. From global icons Amy Winehouse and Steve Jobs, to those folks a little closer to home.