Special Report

Best Artists of the Year

Numerous artists contributed to making 2019 a memorable year for popular music — some new, some well-established, as well as a few legendary acts. Out of the thousands of musicians that perform and release recorded music, these are who fans and critics held above all others.

The path to popularity has changed dramatically over the years. Newer artists increasingly rely on social media to connect with fans. In certain cases, these platforms are essential to a performer’s reputation. Rapper Lil Nas X would likely have never had the success he’s enjoyed with “Old Town Road” were it not for Tik Tok. Thanks in part to the mobile video app, the viral hit broke the record for total weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 19.

Similarly, artists like Billie Eilish began their musical careers releasing songs on the music platform SoundCloud. This type of social media usage is especially common with younger musicians. Here are the year’s youngest pop stars.

The tried-and-true methods of maintaining one’s fanbase continue to work for other musicians. Seventy-two-year-old Sir Elton John has benefited greatly from his ongoing world tour. The 2019 biopic “Rocketman” didn’t hurt his visibility, either. John has a long history of cranking out hit songs, and he ranks among the artists with the most No. 1 hits. These are the artists with the most No. 1 hits.

Of course, the most important element needed for becoming a superstar is making well-loved music. The artists on our list have all had huge success on the music charts this year, dominating radio, album sales, and online streaming. Many have won major music awards. All have amassed huge followings.

24/7 Tempo has identified the best artists of the year based on the Billboard Top Artists year-end chart, Metacritic album Metascores, and total Wikipedia page views over the past year.

Click here to see the best artists of the year.

To determine the best artists of 2019, 24/7 Tempo generated an index based on artists’ rankings on the Billboard Top Artists year end chart, Metacritic scores for their most recently reviewed albums, and total Wikipedia page views from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 12, 2019.

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