Whether it was Elle King, Walk the Moon, Bring Me the Horizon, Chris Stapleton or Leon Bridges, some incredible new acts hit the scene this year in just about every genre. Here is some of the new talent who we threw the weight of our musical expertise behind.

#1 | Five artists Alt-18 listeners broke

To tell the full tale of where and how Alt Nation’s Alt 18 Countdown made its biggest waves in 2015, you actually have to start in 2014. For it was then (beginning the week of November 24, to be precise) that a crazily catchy, joyously retro dance-rock anthem by an up-and-coming quartet from Cincinnati spent five straight weeks atop the Alt 18. By January, Walk the Moon’s Shut Up and Dance was on its way back down that chart, but its journey to the mainstream had just begun … (more)

#2 | Breaking artists across The Spectrum

The mission of The Spectrum is right there in its name: to play music that spans the generations of adult rock music — past, present and future. And while the channel has no shortage of great songs from decades past and from established acts who continue to put out inspiring new material, The Spectrum’s Shortlist, a weekly countdown of the top five songs trending with listeners, aims to focus on the latter — the future of rock. These are the up-and-coming artists that will, with any luck, one day becomes the classics … (more)

#3 | The Highway Hot 45 went hard into soul country

The sun is setting on another year in country music. Yep, after 52 weeks, three country awards shows, 6,482 Luke Bryan hip gyrations, one misguided quote comparing women to tomatoes, and more high-profile country divorces than we care to count, “the year that is” has officially become “the year that was.” And what happened in country music this year? A lot, actually — from the meteoric rise of Chris Stapleton to a new crop of female artists who are more than just garnish — and The Highway was there for all of it … (more)

#4 | SiriusXM Hits 1: The best of everything

SiriusXM’s pop station Hits 1 has always leaned out ahead of the curve. Unlike terrestrial radio stations, Hits 1 is focused on recapturing the feel of an old Top 40s radio dial — one that encompasses pop, R&B, and hip-hop; but also rock, and even a little bit country. But sometimes a single genre isn’t big enough to contain a songwriter, which is where SiriusXM Hits 1 has the freedom of format that terrestrial radio stations may not. But whatever it is, Hits 1 is guaranteed to be on the cusp of what’s next, mostly, because they defer to the ultimate taste makers — the listeners themselves. “This is a listener driven show,” Hits 1 DJ Spyder Harrison said. “You’re in an exclusive club, and therefore, we cater to you. Not to everybody on planet earth. We cater to our listeners, that’s how we’re different” … (more)

#5 | The Octane Airforce is bringing you the horizon

“People say rock is dead, but I beg to differ,” said Vincent Usuriello, Programming Director for Hard Rock and Metal at SiriusXM. “It keeps kicking ass.” As Octane’s program director for the last two years and a SiriusXM employee for five, he knows what he’s talking (rocking!) about.

Octane’s Big Un’s charts, which are often weeks or more ahead of predicting a band’s success on other charts and rankings—including Billboard and YouTube—had a healthy mix of new and classic bands in 2015. “Historically, and this year as well, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, and Disturbed do well. But with upcoming and emerging bands, we had a lot of success with Bring Me the Horizon, Highly Suspect, Royal Blood and Parkway Drive” … (more)

#6 | EDM’s all ‘America, f*ck yeah!’

Obvious artists like Martin Garrix, Alesso and Major Lazer have all had massive success in 2015, both within dance music and the mainstream, releasing dominant singles and, in the case of Alesso and Major Lazer, albums. While acts such as Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Kaskade, Hardwell, Tritonal, Cash Cash, Eric Prydz, Martin Garrix, Audien, Borgeous and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike have all “zeroed in on a specific style within the EDM genre that is cutting edge but also very related to North American fans,” said Geronimo, Senior Director of Electronic and Dance Music Programming at SiriusXM and No. 21 on the Billboard list of the Top 30 EDM Power Players. But then there are those artists — like Mako, Tritonal and Odesza — who came in slow and got a big boost with the help of SiriusXM’s Top 15 BPM Beats of the Week Countdown … (more)

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