Apple has launched its annual Best of iTunes year-end lists, which include Elevate, a brain training app for iPhones and iPads, as well as Threes, the addictive puzzle game. On the media side, Taylor Swift’s 1989 takes Best Album, which isn’t surprising given it was a massive success, as well as the focal point for a debate about the merits of the streaming model of distribution. Other winners on the music side include Beyoncé for best artist, and Iggy Azelea ft. recent TechCrunch guest Charli XCX for Best Song.
Other notable winners in the Apps category include Monument Valley, Storehouse, 1Password, SwiftKey, BuzzFeed, Waterlogue, Facebook’s Paper, Uber and more. Runners up for the top two honors included Hyperlapse from Instagram on the app side, and Leo’s Fortune among games. The list’s selections are noteworthy because they don’t reflect only download numbers, and because Apple seems to betray preferences for certain types of experiences and for newsmakers in its selection process: there are multiple brain-training apps in the list, for instance, and Rovio’s Retry Flappy Bird-style departure from its Angry Birds IP. A fair number of news media apps, including the aforementioned Paper and BuzzFeed, plus NYT Now also made the cut.
Music, Movies and TV
There were fewer surprises here I’d say, with Taylor Swift locking down not only top album but also top pop honors, and Jack White, The War on Drugs, Logic, Sam Smith and a number of others getting prizes for their respective genres, in or Smith’s case for being a breakout new star on the scene.
Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, Boyhood, and Obvious Child won the top awards in the movie category, and while Obvious Child is a bit of a surprise to garner one of the four top honors, it definitely deserves its place. Others that got a mention in the general “Best” container include Birdman, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Snowpiercer to name just a few.
TV tops include Fargo, True Detective, The Honorable Womankind and Key & Peele, while those who earned laudatory mentions include Adventure Time, The Americans, Arrow, Sherlock, Broad City, Orphan Black and more.
Apple also lists the top sellers in movies, music and TV for the year on the wrap-up microsites it hosts in iTunes, if you’re curious about seeing what wins by purely populist count.