And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Well, plenty actually, judging by Music Week's jam-packed festive double issue, which tracks another incredible year for the most exciting industry on earth.
Anyone in the business of music should be able to put their feet up this “holiday season” and reflect on a job well done.
Especially as all around us, music will play a crucial role. Music is front and centre on the festive TV schedules and will feature in every seasonal advert (pictured). No Christmas or New Year party will go unsoundtracked by Yuletide perennials or current streaming bangers. CDs, vinyl or streaming giftcards will be in almost every stocking, as the gift of music remains a cross-generational winner.
But, if any execs were to let a nagging doubt creep in during the season of goodwill, it will surely be this: does music truly play such a central, essential role in people’s lives at other times of the year?
Demi Lovato was the only musician in the year's Google UK Top 10 most searched people, for reasons sadly unrelated to what an absolute tune Cool For The Summer was, suggesting music isn’t necessarily something most people feel obliged to seek out anymore.
The ubiquity of music in 2018 offers many opportunities for the business but, in serving the latent demand, we must be careful not to lose what makes music special. And that means allowing artists and labels to make albums that will be treasured down the generations, as well as songs that will soundtrack passing moments.
This year’s Music Week Breakthrough Artist Anne-Marie speaks passionately in her Music Week interview about how much LPs meant to her as a young music fan and why she stuck doggedly to her dream of making her own. Her persistance – and that of Asylum, Atlantic and manager Jazz Sherman – was rewarded with 2018's biggest-selling debut.
Yet many emerging stars might never get to make an album in the true sense of the word. Others will have to wait so long they'll miss out on documenting that first, exciting period of their career. And, if consumers really don’t want long-players anymore, we need to find other ways to embed music in hearts, minds and souls as well as ears.
So enjoy your Christmas. But whatever you’ve done in 2018, remember there’s still more to do before the next one rolls around...