Apple has released lists of its music store’s best-selling albums and songs of 2011. 23-year-old singer songwriter Adele has comes out as the clear winner, topping both the best-selling album and song charts with her sophomore release 21 and the track “Rolling in the Deep,” respectively. Following 21 is Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV, Kanye West and Jay-Z’s collaborative effort Watch the Throne, and Coldplay’s latest Mylo Xyloto. Drake’s Take Care impressively took the #8 spot on the list, having only been released last month. Moving over to the best-selling songs, LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” landed at the #2 spot, followed by Katy Perry’s “Firework”, Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”, and Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You.” This year Apple went so far as to award artists individual distinctions, too. For obvious reasons Adele was named Artist of the Year; Wasting Light by The Foo Fighters got Album of the Year, even though it didn’t land the in the best-selling top ten list; Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” is Song of the Year (#9 on the top ten list); and Breakthrough Artist of the Year is Nicki Minaj whose song “Super Bass” rests at #10 on the best-selling songs list. Jump after the break to see who else rounded out iTunes’ best-selling albums and songs of the year. Open iTunes to view their Rewind 2011 section for more year-end chart toppers.
On Wednesday Google stripped the “b” word from Music Beta by Google and transitioned Google Music into a one-stop shop for uploading, purchasing, and sharing music. Like Music Beta, Google Music will allow users to upload up to 20,000 songs to the cloud for free. The music.google.com portal still exists and looks nearly identical to its beta version. Users can upload their music to the cloud by clicking the “Upload Music” link in the top right corner; this will prompt you to open the Music Manager software, just like before. What’s new, however, is the link “Shop.” That’s right, Google is ready to go head-to-head with Apple and Amazon by selling songs directly to users. The Android Market has a new section called Music living among Apps, Books, and Movies. At this new Music store users can browse, preview, and purchase individual tracks and albums. Google has worked out deals with three of the four major labels–Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI–and many independent labels to offer over 13 million tracks. Google has yet to partner with Warner Music Group, and the absence of their inclusion stings a bit. To ease the pain, they are offering exclusive content from some of the most popular artists like Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, and Dave Matthews Band. Free tracks and live concert albums are currently in the mix from a handful of artists. When you download music from the Android Market, the tracks automatically fly into the cloud and populate your Google Music library on your computer and mobile devices. If you have an Android device running 2.2 or higher the Music section of the Market is rolling out to you soon and you’ll be able to download tracks on the go. The Google Music app has already received an update and can be downloaded at the Market today. After downloading music from the store, Google lets you share your purchase with your Circles on Google+. When your friends see a track or album shared on their stream, they have the option to listen to your music once in its entirety! Next there’s the Google Music Artist Hub. The kind folks at Google are giving independent artists a means to upload their music to the Android Market. If you have the rights to distribute music, Google has built a simple interface to create your own artist page, upload original tracks, set prices, and sell content directly to customers. Indie artists keep 70 percent of the profits and Google gets the remaining 30. If this tickles your fancy, visit the Artist Hub to get started. Last, the G-Men have released a Google Music app for Google TV. It’ll let you can access your music library right on the TV.
And just like that, Google has set itself up to become a formidable contender in the music space. Video after the break.
After many years of mediocre 30 second song previews, Apple now allows artists to upload 90 second previews. Two restrictions apply: for the preview length increase the song must be 2 minutes and 30 seconds or longer, and lengthier previews only exist in the U.S. iTunes Store (for now). The preview extension is very handy; purchasing decisions become easier when you have more time to demo a track. Open up iTunes, head to the Store, and see if your favorite artists are embracing the positive change.