Billboard, the leading global destination for charts, news, trends and innovations in music, today launched its annual “Year in Music” online wrap-up, including the highly anticipated year-end chart rankings. To commemorate and celebrate the “best of” 2014, Billboard Magazine will—for the first time—release four separate covers featuring some of the hottest chart-topping acts of the past year. The year-end issue, dated December 20, will hit newsstands on December 12.

On the highly-trafficked, Billboard’s 2014 farewell coverage includes nearly 200 year-end charts with editorial analysis of the biggest charting stories of the year, as well as Billboard editor’s top picks of 2014, and a look back at the greatest music and pop culture moments of the year.

The year-end Billboard charts, which include data from Nielsen Music and social activity tracked by Next Big Sound, are the only 2014 recaps to incorporate multiple consumer music measurements (sales, radio listening, streaming, social and concert attendance), truly reflecting the best in music according to music fans.

With the top grossing tour of the year and a No. 1 Billboard 200 album during the chart year (“Midnight Memories”), One Direction claims the title of Billboard’s Artist of the Year. The band is only the ninth group to take the honor since Billboard started a year-end overall artist category in 1981, with Destiny’s Child the last group to do so in 2001.

Other top honors include Disney’s “Frozen” soundtrack taking the Billboard 200 Album of the Year; the first soundtrack to lead the list since 1998’s monster “Titanic” album. The Billboard Hot 100 Song of the Year is the infectious “Happy,” by Pharrell. Originally written for the 2013 animated film “Despicable Me 2,” the track garnered an Academy Award nomination for best original song, and spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the weekly Hot 100 chart. The multi-talented Pharrell was also named both Hot 100 Songwriter and Producer of the Year.

Capping off a breakthrough year, powered by the megahit and Song of the Summer winner “Fancy,” as well as her top three-peaking album “The New Classic,” Australian rapper Iggy Azalea earns the nod of Billboard’s New Artist of 2014.

“This was a year of great accomplishments and firsts for the Billboard brand,” said Janice Min, co-president and chief creative officer of Guggenheim Media’s Entertainment Group, which consists of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. “From the Billboard 200 revamp to include streaming and track sales to ground-breaking editorial coverage, the Year-End recap and inaugural cover split will be the final stake for a highly successful 2014.”

The Billboard Year in Music charts are a comprehensive package recapping which artists, albums and singles across all genres fared the best during the chart period that began with last year’s December 7 issue and ended with the November 29, 2014 issue.

“The Billboard Year-End charts are the most highly anticipated rankings of the year,” said Silvio Pietroluongo, VP of charts and data development at Billboard. “For decades, Billboard’s annual lists have been the global standard for gauging the year’s top musical successes, as determined by the activity of music fans.”

Hitting 20 million monthly unique visitors to its website in October 2014, Billboard has seen 50 percent year-over-year growth of its online readership.* Billboard has scored major news-generating covers recently, including Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Shakira, Idina Menzel, Iggy Azalea, Pharrell Williams, Tom Petty, Mick Jagger and Miranda Lambert.

* Google Analytics, October 2014

About Billboard
Billboard is the world’s most influential music brand, built on the most complete and well-respected database of charts across all music genres. The Billboard charts define success in music. From the iconic Billboard magazine to which is the ultimate consumer-facing destination for millions of passionate music fans, to the industry’s most elite conference series and influencer events including the Power 100 and Women in Music – the Billboard brand has unmatched authority among fans, artists and the industry alike. /

SOURCE Billboard