Lil Baby, Taylor Swift & More Honored at 2020 Apple Music Awards

Lil Baby, Taylor Swift and Megan Thee Stallion were among the winners at the second annual Apple Music Awards, unveiled Wednesday (Nov. 18) in California.

Artist of the year honors went to Atlanta rapper Lil Baby, whose My Turn ruled the Billboard 200 albums chart for more than a month, led the Apple Music charts and is one of the year’s biggest streaming releases.

The hip-hop star (real name Dominique Jones) also ruled the Billboard Artist 100 chart in this, his breakout year.

2020 has “changed me a lot,” he says in a statement. “Now that I’m an artist, I feel like my voice can get heard through my music and I needed to say something. And my fans listened. So thank you to my fans and thank you to Apple Music for giving me a special way to connect to my fans.”

The streaming service handed out five awards on the night. Winners for global artist of the year, songwriter of the year, and breakthrough artist of the year were chosen by Apple Music’s global editorial team, while top song of the year and top album of the year were decided by streaming data from the platform.

Meanwhile, breakthrough artist of the year went to Megan Thee Stallion, who recently became the first woman to lead Billboard’s Rap Songwriters chart. The Houston rapper was thrilled with the Apple Music result. “This is a really big accomplishment for me,” she enthused.

Taylor Swift was back in the winners’ circle, taking out songwriter of the year for her instant classic, the Billboard 200 leader Folklore. The award represents something “really special this particular year because songwriting was the one thing that kept me connected to my fans,” Swift says in a statement. “It means a lot to me because the way that fans respond to the songs I write, and the emotional exchange, is what has really kept me going this year.”

Roddy Ricch is a two-time Apple Music Awards champion, taking out top song of the year for his Billboard Hot 100 leader “The Box,” and top album of the year for Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial. “It’s crazy making music could get me to the point where a platform like Apple could honor me or put me on a pedestal,” he said after his big night. “This is confirmation that I am on the right track and doing what I gotta do to be the greatest in my own right.”

Apple Music will shine a spotlight on this year’s success stories with a week of events, kicking off Dec. 14. The lineup will include special performances, fan events, interviews, and more, streaming worldwide on Apple Music, Apple Music TV, and the Apple TV app.

Lime Cordiale Wins Triple J’s Australian Album of the Year

Lime Cordiale’s 14 Steps To A Better You (Chugg Music) has won Triple J’s coveted J Award for Australian album of the year.

The sophomore album from the Sydney indie outfit, led by brothers Louis and Oli Leimbach, beat out recordings by Alice Ivy, Ball Park Music, DMA’S, Tame Impala and others to claim the national youth radio network’s top honor, announced live on air Thursday (Nov. 19).

“What a great award to receive from such a unique radio station [that] supports artists from all backgrounds,” Louis and Oli said in a video acceptance speech. They also paid tribute to their fellow nominees: “We look up to you, you’re our heroes. Cheers.”

14 Steps To A Better You opened at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart in July, for the band’s first leader. It’s shaping to be a huge month for the alternative rock outfit, with Lime Cordiale nominated in a leading eight categories for next Wednesday’s 2020 ARIA Awards.

“Lime Cordiale know how to write an earworm, and with an album that already had four Hottest 100 hits under its belt before release,” comments triple j music director Nick Findlay, “there was no doubt that we were going to be met with another wave of listener favorites on this record.”

Now in its 16th year, the J Awards are the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s celebration of the best in contemporary Australian music.

Typically unveiled in the Ausmusic Month of November, the J Award has previously been won by Wolfmother (2005), Hilltop Hoods (2006), The Panics (2007), The Presets (2008), Sarah Blasko (2009), Tame Impala (2010 + 2012), Gotye (2011), Flume (2013), Chet Faker (2014) and Courtney Barnett (2015), D.D. Dumbo (2016), A.B. Original (2017), Middle Kids (2018) and last year’s champ, Matt Corby.

The Australian album of the year was one of five prizes handed out on the day. Rapper JK-47, a Gudjinburra man of the Bundjalung nation, took out the Unearthed artist of the year for his debut album Made For This.

Meanwhile, legendary artist Archie Roach was named Double J Australian artist of the year, just days out from his induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

The Australian music video of the year went to Tasman Keith’s “Billy Bad Again” and the so-called Done Good Award went to Isol-Aid, the livestreaming festival platform that was one of the first of its kind to respond when the pandemic shut-down gigs around the country.

A fundraiser for the Support Act music industry charity, Isol-Aid is nearly 900 sets strong.

Tencent Music Partners With Wave to Air Virtual Concerts In China

China’s leading music company, Tencent Music Entertainment (TME), today (Nov. 19) announced a strategic partnership with Wave, the Los Angeles-based virtual concerts company which helps artists like The Weeknd and John Legend perform live as avatar versions of themselves in imaginative digital landscapes.

Under the pact, TME will air Wave events across its owned music platforms in China, which are the streaming services QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music and social karaoke app WeSing. TME also takes a minority equity investment in Wave, and both companies will collaborate on virtual concerts for “TME Live,” an interactive livestreaming concert series the company launched in March.

“The collaboration with Wave marks an important step forward in our efforts to integrate technology and music, aiming to amplify the immersive music experience for our users, enhance user engagement and promote content consumption,” TME group vp of content cooperation TC Pan said. “With this strategic partnership, we will further extend the boundaries of music services through virtual performances, and build a broader music ecosystem.”

Originally founded in 2016 as a startup for virtual reality concerts, which fans would need virtual reality headsets to attend, Wave has since pivoted to livestream its shows on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, and is one of many virtual concert companies sent into overdrive amid the coronavirus pandemic. Wave has hosted more than 50 events for artists to date, including The Weeknd’s augmented-reality gig on TikTok LIVE in August, which reached more than 2 million live viewers. The pact with TME comes after Wave announced $30 million in series B funding in June, with investors including Scooter Braun, Superfly co-founder Rick Farman and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and music-tech firm Raised in Space.

The partnership creates opportunities for Wave (and artists who use it) to tap into the music market in China, which the IFPI named the seventh top music market in the world in its 2019 annual global music report. Infiltrating that territory hasn’t been easy for Western artists, in part because many of the social media and streaming platforms they use to promote their work, from YouTube to Spotify, are either banned or unavailable in China.

Meanwhile, TME’s music services — which will now air Wave shows — attract a combined 646 million monthly active users, according to the company’s Q3 2020 financials.

TME’s stamp of approval is significant for a virtual concerts company like Wave, given that TME is considered a leader in monetizing virtual events and adding social media elements to its music services, two factors key to success in the concert livestreaming space. TME earned nearly 70% of its total revenue in Q3 2020 through virtual tipping, virtual gifts and other “social entertainment services” bought by fans, and Wave concerts include these elements as well. It’s a strategy borrowed from the gaming industry, from which both Wave co-founders Adam Arrigo and Adam Lamke hail, having helped develop games like the Rock Band and Dance Central series.

“Wave is committed to bringing our interactive virtual entertainment experiences to music fans around the world, and TME is the ideal partner to accelerate these efforts,” Wave COO Jarred Kennedy added. “We share the belief that gaming technology will dramatically expand the breadth of possibility for creative expression and audience interaction in music, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with TME to build that future.”

TME and its parent company, Tencent Holdings, also hold equity stakes in Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, while TME’s agreement with Spotify finds the two companies owning nearly 10% of each other.

Wave isn’t the only name in music partnering with TME for livestreams: Today, TME also announced that it will air Billie Eilish’s “WHERE DO WE GO? THE LIVESTREAM” event, which originally premiered on Oct. 24, across its music services and TME Live on Nov. 21.