2016 might go down in history as “the year the music died.” But as we mourn the loss of countless legends, we also look ahead to those artists who will one day fill their shoes. This year, we discovered quite a few of these up-and-comers. The “Class of 2016” is comprised of artists that were played first on SiriusXM and subsequently went on to have a major breakthrough year in 2016, and the “Future Five” for 2017 consists of five new artists we predict will breakthrough in 2017.
Take a look at who stood out among the rest, and keep coming back to us for more music discoveries!
SiriusXM’s Class of 2016
Alt Nation (Ch. 36) became the first radio outlet in America to play Bishop Briggs in a regular rotation when it started playing Wild Horses in January 2016. Alt Nation then added River into rotation in February of 2016. Soon after, the unsigned Los Angeles-based Briggs was signed to Island Records. The River became a top 5 song on Billboard’s Alternative chart, has sold over 250,000 digital tracks and has been streamed over 23 million times.
In November of 2014, eight months following their viral hit Selfie, SiriusXM hired The Chainsmokers as hosts of the YouTube EDM15, a weekly show co-produced by SiriusXM and YouTube. The Chainsmokers continued to make their own songs, and in March of 2016, their music careers surged with their first ever Top 5 pop hit, Roses. The charismatic EDM DJs and SiriusXM hosts followed up in 2016 with two more massive Billboard #1 hits, Don’t Let Me Down and Closer. The Chainsmokers are also nominated for Best New Artist at the upcoming Grammy Awards.
In April of 2015, SiriusXM’s Venus (Ch. 3) channel was the first radio outlet in America to add the song Hideaway to regular rotation from the independently signed Daya. When the song was added to rotation on SiriusXM Hits 1 in June of 2015 it started to sell over 3,000 digital tracks a week. In December of 2015 Daya was selected by SiriusXM as one of the five artists to watch in 2016. Hideway went on to become a Top 10 Pop hit in February of 2016. The song has sold over 1 million tracks and has been streamed over 178 million times. Daya also performed lead vocals on the song Don’t Let Me Down from The Chainsmokers, which was a #1 pop song in July of 2016.
SiriusXM named Kaleo a Spectrum Certified new artist in January 2015 when The Spectrum became the first radio outlet in America to play the Icelandic band in regular rotation. In December of 2015, The Spectrum was also the first to add the band’s breakthrough hit Way Down We Go to regular rotation. The song went on to become a #1 hit on Billboard’s Adult Alternative and Alternative charts, has sold over 300,000 digital tracks and has been streamed over 300 million times.
SiriusXM named Lanez a Future Fire artist in August of 2015 when The Heat became the first radio outlet in America to regularly play Say It. In December of 2015 Tory Lanez was selected by SiriusXM as one of the five artists to watch in 2016. The song went on to reach #1 on Billboard’s Rhythmic chart in February 2016 and has been streamed over 450 million times.
SiriusXM named Morris a Highway Find in November of 2015 when The Highway became the first radio outlet in America to regularly play My Church. In December of 2015, Morris was selected by SiriusXM as one of the five artists to watch in 2016. Since then Morris won the CMA Award for New Artist Of The Year and has received five nominations for the upcoming Grammy Awards.
Nothing But Thieves
In July of 2015 Alt Nation was the first radio outlet in America to play Trip Switch from the unsigned Nothing But Thieves in a regular rotation. The UK-based band was subsequently picked up by RCA Records in North America. In December of 2015 Nothing But Thieves was selected by SiriusXM as one of the five artists to watch in 2016. The band’s Trip Switch reached #1 on Billboard’s Alternative chart in May of 2016.
SiriusXM named the unsigned Rector a Pulse First artist in September of 2015 when The Pulse was the first radio outlet in America to play Brand New. Rector was subsequently picked up by Capitol Records and had a Top 5 hit on Billboard’s Adult Pop chart in July 2016. The song went on to sell over 200,000 digital tracks and has been streamed over 25 million times.
SiriusXM’s Future Five for 2017
The Highway (Ch. 56) premiered Woke Up In Nashville from Ennis in mid-September, when he was named a Highway Find — the channel’s ongoing initiative to introduce new country artists to SiriusXM listeners. The 24-year old Ennis, who was signed to Sony Music Nashville in the same month, saw his digital track sales rocket to over 2,000 a week and he has now accumulated over 2 million streams to date.
Alt Nation (Ch. 36) featured Blood In The Cut on its Advanced Placement new music show in August, 2016 and added the song into regular rotation in October. The Chicago native and graduate of Stanford University was played as an independent artist on the company’s Faction channel starting in 2014. Blood in The Cut has been streamed over 2.8 million times and has sold over 30,000 digital tracks to date. K. Flay is now signed to Interscope Records.
Lil Uzi Vert
Eminem’s Shade 45 (Ch. 45) channel was the first radio outlet in America to regularly play Lil Uzi Vert when his song Money Longer debuted on the channel in March of 2016. Lil Uzi Vert was introduced to Shade 45 listeners by DJ Drama, who hosts his own weekly mix show on the channel. Lil Uzi Vert is signed to Atlantic Records.
Every Little Thing from the “unsigned” 26-year-old Kentucky native was added as a Highway Find in early November. The song is currently selling over 4,000 digital tracks a week without any other regular radio support.
Rag N Bone Man
Rag N Bone Man’s Human debuted in mid-October on The Spectrum (Ch. 28), which was the first radio outlet in America to regularly play this British singer-songwriter. The Spectrum Certified artist has reached #1 on The Spectrum’s Short List countdown, and has been streamed over 2 million times since its first airplay on the channel. Rag N Bone Man was first signed to Sony UK and subsequently picked up by Columbia Records in the U.S.
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