A couple weeks ago we discussed the “boy’s club” that is the music industry, and took a good honest look at the obstacles that professional women—even big-name stars—face daily in the business.  But in the warm glow of a potentially prosperous new year, one that could be filled with endless hypothetical iterations of a different and wonderful self, let us look at the bright side for a moment. Let us imagine that yes, this is the year I will finally start to exercise more so that when I take my semi-daily runs I won’t attract the stares of local dogs as I pant unabashedly through the sweltering Floridian winter; this is the year I stop eating holiday cheesecake on what could be considered a competitive level; this is the year I swallow my hatred of my fellow human beings and find a boyfriend who is as in to not talking and staring at yet another episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as I am. So, looking into an idyllic or (more likely) mostly made-up prospective new year, let us take a look at the ladies of pop music, of EDM, of the industry who are breaking down barriers, breaking all the rules, and busting onto the scene declaring, “Bitch better have my money.”

Collectively, it has been a pretty sweet year for the ladies of mainstream music. The albums with the most Billboard Hot 100 singles in 2015? Adele, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Rihanna—which is even more impressive when you take into account that Rihanna and Perry haven’t even put out new albums this year. Maybe Left Shark had trouble remembering choreographed dance moves because it was so intimidated by the sheer money-making force dancing next to it in a beach-ball bustier.

Kisses and gender equality from Left Shark

Some of the same women are killing it vis-a-vis music sales, as both Swift and Adele’s albums have gone DIAMOND in some parts of the world. Yeah bruh, I said Diamond, which is skipping Platinum altogether and going right to “damn son” levels of gross revenue.

But it’s not just the mistresses of pop that made a killing this year. Some amazing names in electronic and independent music also made their respective marks, releasing critically acclaimed singles and albums named in the top fifty of 2015. Grimes’s Art Angels made a big impact, giving a middle finger to those who branded Claire Boucher as a niche female voice, and impressing with pulse-accelerating tracks like “Kill v. Maim” and “REALiTi.” CHVRCHES front woman Lauren Mayberry made waves with the group’s new album Every Open Eye (Tip: if you haven’t heard “Clearest Blue” yet, remedy that quick-like).

In short, there was no shortage of awesome women in 2015 to shape the evolution of music, and they’re primed to do it again in 2016. Making money, breaking hearts and glass ceilings. 2015 may just be remembered as the year of the fabulous female takeover in music, and that’s not such a bad thing.

Performers Mentioned In This Article