Relative to 2016, 2017 has felt reasonably straight forward. While 2016 will go down in history as “the year everyone died”, 2017 is more likely to become “the year we were all preoccupied with politic”s. Obviously we lost musicians in 2017, too, though. After all, time stands still for no one, and not even Thor could defeat Queen Elle; so we lost rock n’ roll icon Chuck Berry in March, and rock pioneer Fats Domino departed in October. Although neither one of these gents had produced an album in a long time, they were both legends of rock n’ roll. Domino’s tunes have been sampled and covered by artists from Tom Petty to The Beatles. While Berry will go down in history for the landmark plagiarism suit against the Beach Boys, it also needs to be said that there is a straight line of descent from Berry to Slayer.
2017 In Music: Year of the Rock Chick Warriors
Ariana Grande and Friends Chalk up a win for Peace
We are also unlikely to forget the terror bombing at the May 22nd Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Acting alone, a suicide bomber detonated a homemade explosive device packed with shrapnel as fans were leaving the arena at the end of the show. 23 people, ranging in age from eight to 51 years old, were killed, and over 500 were injured. On June 4th, Grande stages One Love Manchester in response to the bombing. The concert was aired live by networks from 50 countries, and streamed live on various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Guest stars, including Justin Bieber, Pharrell Willams and Miley Cyrus helped the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund raise funds to aid the bombing victims and their families. The One Love Manchester concert was perhaps the biggest event in music of 2017, overshadowing the bombing itself – a win for peace.
Satellite Radio went Private
So what of other big stories of 2017? Since we’re talking music, the Sirius XM Canada’s privatization tops the list. The satellite broadcaster has some 2.8 million subscribers in Canada alone, and this deal’s transnational value was pegged at $479 million.
The transaction meant that just over 33 percent of the shares in the company (that’s equal to 15 percent of the company’s total equity) were acquired by two of Sirius XM Canada’s largest shareholders, Slaight Communications Inc. and Obelysk Media Inc. In the meantime, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., cashed out of its 12.5 percent stake. The U.S. Sirius XM Holdings Inc. then formed a new company with the remaining shareholders. The results were an almost immediate significant monetary gain for the music business: Sirius XM Canada reported quarterly revenue of $86.9 million in its second quarter in 2016, as compared to $84.4 million for the same period in 2016.
2017: In Love with Ed Sheeran
So who did we listen to on our satellite radios? Well, you couldn’t really avoid Ed Sheeran and Demi Lovado. It’s hard to miss with an album like Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide). The album has a bit of something for everyone, from Spanish rhythms on “Barcelona”, to the Irish-styled track “Galway Girl”. There’ even a bit of Africa in there (“Bibia Be Ye Ye”)! His “Shape of You” quickly became 2017 most steamed track of Spotify. While the album went double platinum, Sheeran ended the year perfectly; his duet with Beyonce, “Perfect”, sitting pretty at number one on Billboard’s Top 50.
Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me was the follow-up to 2015’s Confident. Recorded by a woman who clearly enjoys being a she, the album included a collaboration with Lil Wayne (“Lonely”) and more tracks for women looking for a role model who wasn’t so “sugar and spice”.
Sugar and Spice and All Things Pink
Speaking of not so sugar and spice…in 2017, there was Pink. How do you top performing at the Grammys suspended from the ceiling? Well, if you’re Pink, you fling yourself handlessly off of the J.W. Marriott in Downtown Los Angeles.
For the American Music Awards this year, the singer performed her latest hit, “Beautiful Trauma,” whilst suspended from a hotel. The tune is from her seventh album, also titled “Beautiful Trauma”. Pink actually opened the award show with Kelly Clarkson, who also had a new album out in 2017. The two kicked off the show with a cover of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” that just about broke the internet.
Tayor Swift dropped her sixth album, “Reputation,” in November. It sold a million copies in the first week, making it the highest selling album of the year. In 2017, we talked about Swift being on Time’s Person of the Year cover, too.
Year of the Rock Chick Warriors
You see a trend here, right? All those women are tough as nails, strong women role models. In looking back on 2017, you can discern a trend: it was the year of the Rock Chick Warriors.
How will 2018 fare in comparison? Well, we have some new releases by a couple of original rap chick warriors coming up, for starters. Missy Elliott is due to release her first album in a decade, and Nicki Minaj is due to follow up her 2014 album “The Pinkprint”. While we’re on the topic of rap, it looks like we may be hearing more from Eminem and Lil Wayne.
Hopefully 2018 will be full of variety, too. While not considered mainstream, we can expect long overdue new stuff from Joe Satriani, a DVD from Anthrax, and a new release from Audrey Horne. It looks like we have a great year to look forwards to!