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Music and Podcasts – Apple announces best of the year

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For the past few years, Apple has celebrated the best audio output around the world with awards for its favorite new music and podcasts of the past 12 months.

The results are in for 2021, with ten prizes handed out for music and even more for podcasts. Let’s take a look at the winners.

Apple Music Award

Here, there were five main prizes up for grabs as well as another five region-specific prizes celebrating artists around the world.

The biggest award, Global Artist of the Year, went to The Weeknd. Apple notes that the R&B and pop mastermind’s hit “Blinding Lights” hit the No. 1 spot while his 2020 album “After Hours” broke various streaming records too. He’s been a cover star on more music mags than we care to list and was a huge part of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show to boot.

The Weeknd

Next up, Olivia Rodrigo will be more than pleased with these results. The teenage sensation scooped up three separate awards this year: Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. Wow. The singer-songwriter smashed all kinds of records this past year with her debut album “SOUR” and debut single “drivers license,” while all 11 songs on the album made the Daily Top 100.

“It’s truly surreal,” says Rodrigo. “Thank you to Apple Music for these amazing awards.”

Just the one main award left, Songwriter of the Year, and it went to H.E.R. for her “brilliant, confident, and freewheeling” R&B album “Back of My Mind.”

Beyond that were the regional Artist of the Year awards, which came in as follows.

Africa: Wizkid
France: Aya Nakamura
Germany: RIN
Russia: Scriptonite

Open the Music app this week and you’ll see all the award winners highlighted, with various playlists you can listen to if you want to check them out.

Podcasts Best of 2021

The world of podcasting just keeps getting bigger, and this year Apple highlighted an overall Show of the Year, a Newcomer of the Year, and then a top ten list for both shows and individual episodes.

Show of the Year went to “A Slight Change of Plans” from cognitive scientist Maya Shankar. The show is a deep dive into behavioral science by way of inspirational conversations with people who have gone through big, often unexpected changes in their lives.

Maya Shankar

Meanwhile, the Newcomer of the Year award was scooped up by Maria Garcia‘s podcast “Anything for Selena.” It’s a show about identity, race, belonging, and was made on a shoestring budget.

“2021 marked the start of a new chapter for podcasting with shows that moved us in ways unlike ever before,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “We are honored to recognize the phenomenal creators who are redefining podcasting with this year’s best shows, and to help more listeners around the world discover, enjoy, and support their inspiring work.”

If you want to listen to any of this year’s winners, including content from Apple’s curated top tens and the Podcasts Charts top tens, tap here to open the full list in the Podcasts app.