Wrapping up our year end review with a look back at the top music newsmakers of the past year. All in all, 2016 was a pretty tragic and eventful year for music, with the sudden passing of numerous music luminaries such as Prince, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, the list reads like a who's who of the past 40 years, and coupled that with the sudden loss of UK indie upstarts Viola Beach in a car accident in Sweden, it was an unexpected avalanche of tragedies that we were unprepared to deal with. In other happier news, Napster made their return to the news with the name change from Rhapsody, and its plan to take on Spotify in an increasingly competitive streaming music market: Here is my rundown of the top music news stories:
The deaths of David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, etc.
Starting off 2016 from the get go, it was a not a good start as we lost David Bowie to cancer back in January that most fans didn't see coming as many didn't even know he was sick. That was followed a week later by the sudden passing of The Eagles Glenn Frey, another jarring loss that many in the music community felt the brunt of, and a few months after that we were dealt a crushing blow by the sudden death of Prince that really put a damper and sealed the deal on what was a massive loss for fans of all these aforementioned genres, and really made us appreciate the artists and the music we love from them that much more.
The passing of Viola Beach
Another tragic loss from a band that we didn't get the pleasure to know that well is the Warrington, UK based Viola Beach. The band met their unexpected end after returning from a festival when the vehicle they were traveling in crashed into a raising drawbridge in Sweden and plunged into the river below, killing all members of the group plus their manager. The collective were set to make their stateside debut this past March at SXSW where they were already building substantial buzz in European circles. The band's sound had some distinct similarities to Vampire Weekend but had their own distinct British charm to it that was eerily beautiful, and spoke of their close knit friendship that ended tragically with all of them dying together doing what they loved the most.
Napster Returns, Looks To Conquer The Streaming Music Market
Seemingly and unexpectedly back from the dead, Napster made it's triumphant return on July 15 of this past year, when it rebranded from its prior incarnation Rhapsody. Napster was the early pioneer and adopter of downloaded music in the early 2000's, before a gamut of court cases and lawsuits forced it to shut down in July 2001. Napster's return has put the rest of the streaming market on notice with its sleek and intuitive interface offering up something different for consumers who are constantly looking for retro and throwback services that are a hot trend and seem to be all the rage these days. While it remains to be seen what their future is, it so far looks bright and promising, and seems destined to challenge Spotfy's stranglehold in the streaming music market.