Here we are, at the end of another year at HumanHuman and our global community of new music enthusiasts has continued to go from strength to strength.
We’ve seen a rapidly changing face in the online music world throughout 2017, with the ongoing domination of a particular streaming service, the explosion of young musicians finding their way through laptop production and self-promotion, the evermore impactful role of independent record labels, managers, PRs, the immortal voice of radio, and the changing tactic of bloggers as they do their best to keep up with this immense abundance of new music. Right now, it seems like there’s more music than we’d ever possibly need and it can seem impossible to see throughout the forest of genres, sub-genres, cross-genres, anti-genres touted by artists from the most far-flung to more obvious locations. This is where we’d like to think HumanHuman steps in.
Throughout the year we had 1,100 new users joining the HumanHuman family, who altogether have provided more than 24,000 artist discoveries and collectively clicked on that ‘Agree this is promising’ button around 22,500 times. From this we had a mighty 319 Promising Discoveries, who had each garnered enough agrees from our members to reach that coveted 100% promising mark. “What does this all mean?”, you might wonder... Well, using our database of discoveries, agrees, listens and so on, we’re able to boil down all this activity into our chosen categories that illuminate the activity us our community, and by extension reflecting the current climate of the wider online music world.
Below we recall who was the Promising Discovery with the most agrees (Most Agreed Discovery), the artist who gained the most new listeners in the year (Most Trending Feature), the discovery who reached 100% promising the fastest (Fastest Feature), and those Promising Discoveries who went from community favourites to Internet sensations in a year (Quick Riser). Moving on to those that make HumanHuman happen - the users. We’ll also be looking at the member with the most Promising Discoveries to their name (Most Featured User), the one who had the most new users this year (Most Popular User), the newbie who made their mark (Best Newcomer) and that user who provided the most words of advice via our promotional feedback tool (Feedback Star). Last, but by no means least, we’ve dug into the data to discover which of our articles racked up the most reads in 2017.
Without further ado, here’s 2017 In Review.
The core strength of HumanHuman lies in our community; a network of respected music critics, bloggers, radio heads, avid listeners and other industry insiders. If the HH community comes together and marks a pick as promising, it tends to be on the back of quality output. If a pick generates an unusually high number of ‘agrees’ then you can be sure that the artist is about to have a bumper year.
The Most Agrees collected by a single act this year went to WESLEE (39), a transatlantic duo (discovered by Jeremy) who rose above the rest with their intriguing debut single “Gassed”. The track was The Hottest Record on BBC radio and is currently sitting at just over 1,500,000 streams on Spotify. As Matthew Kent wrote for The Line Of Best Fit, ‘“Gassed” may be sparse, with nothing but vocal samples and drum beats in terms of production, but it's hypnotic and fuels the mystery which shrouds the pair.’ WESLEE continued their rise with an equally beguiling follow up “Bathwater” which received widespread blog acclaim and gave them another 1,500,000 streams. 2018 is set to be an enormous year for WESLEE.
Second place went to Melis (37), who was added to HH by Italian tastemaker blog Going Solo. The Berlin songstress released her debut “Love Song Idea” at the beginning of the year; a demo that lit up the blogosphere, receiving support from the likes of Earmilk, Indietronica and Complex. She then began to define her sound, releasing tracks that would eventually become the “Parallels EP”; a collection of music that Billboard described as “a potent cocktail of earnest, homegrown pop that fuses elements of folk and electronica.” Look out for Melis in all your favourite playlists as she continues to release stunning synth-pop next year.
Snow Culture took third place, tying with Melis at 37 agrees. Having been discovered a year ago by respected Belgian blogger Disco Naïveté, the Swedish duo dropped their first track “No Sleep”. It’s a mature outing from the pair who had just signed to Neon Gold records; as Sodwee wrote, “Everything here is deceptive. Until the guitar solo kicks in and cements the whole effort into an effortless anthem.” The enigmatic sound that Snow Culture built continued to impress and culminated in their debut EP entitled “EP1”. - LL
This category recognises the picks that have received the most new listeners in 2017. Niels Bruwier added this year’s Most Trending artist to the site, being the first to mark out Camila Cabello as a potentially promising pick. Most of the HumanHuman community had probably heard of Camila Cabello before she broke out as a solo artist. As one fifth of “Fifth Harmony”, she was a bonafide pop-star. Solo projects are, however, unpredictable animals [see Victoria Beckham]. The risk was worth the reward, with Cabello releasing hit after hit; “Crying in the Club” proved that she was a pop force in her own right. Then, at the tail end of 2017, we were treated to her undeniable new single “Havana” - a track that has become one of this year’s highlights.
Second in this year’s Most Trending category was Dua Lipa, discovered over two years ago by Alexander Spriet before releasing her debut single “New Love”. The Londoner had sowed the seeds for dominance in 2016 with standout tracks “Be The One” and “Hotter Than Hell”. However, she caught fire in 2017 - with “New Rules” becoming Lipa’s most successful track to date, landing her a UK number one. It will become the benchmark for future endeavours, having taken over radio, streaming platforms and the blogosphere in one fell swoop.
Mega-talented songstress Julia Michaels came in third, finally stepping out as an artist in 2017. Having penned hits for the likes of Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato, the LA-based songwriter finally kept one for herself, releasing “Issues” - a genre defining single that has become synonymous with this year’s pop landscape. Congratulations go out to mysterious HH user “Will” for spotting Michaels’ potential before the rest of us. - LL
The Fastest Feature epitomises that frenzy of excitement that a particularly good, fresh and often out-of-the-blue discovery can spark across our music enthusiast community. Despite the fact that 2017 yielded 24,085 brand new finds across HumanHuman, it was only a tiny handful of acts that had our users rushing to the agree button. Coming in as our third fastest feature is the Lithuanian bedroom-pop sensation junior a, who sprung up online with self-produced tracks, including The xx-esque “jaded” and cosmic alt-R&B “guess you are real”. Well, 86 hours 29 minutes 25 seconds after Jon Vilardi’s first discovery and 19 users had singled out junior as a Promising Discovery. Our runner-up in this category is LPX, first discovered by Matthew Kent who used the best of his insider knowledge to let us know that the mega alt-pop debut “Tightrope” would be hitting our ears on January 27th 2017. Of course, when that day came, our users were all ready to hear this punk-dappled hit leading to 26 surefire agrees in 51 hours 44 minutes 6 seconds. Now it’s the turn of the absolute Fastest Feature of 2017: the one, the only Bülow. At only 17-years-old, this Dutch outsider appeared on our new music radar just two months ago thanks to superb blogger Wonky Sensitive who couldn’t resist the anti-romance pop diamond “This Is Not A Love Song”. The crisp production, dancehall vibes and hella hooks meant that Bülow was heralded as a Promising Artist by 31 users just 49 hours 45 minutes 44 seconds after that initial discovery. - HT
The Quick Riser category taps into the quality of our esteemed users and their ability to collectively discover an emerging act before that act breaks onto the scene. Quick Risers are those artists which have been labeled as promising and amassed a glut of new listeners in that time.
First place was won by Camila Cabello, who seems to be taking over our yearly rundown. It has been a stellar year for the Los Angeles based artist who was poised to be a shoe-in for the pop-bop of the year, having cut her teeth with Fifth Harmony. It goes without saying that “Havana” has sent Cabello to another stratosphere. The track taps into her Cuban-American heritage, combining Latin piano with a poppy, hip-hop influenced beat. The single went to number one in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland and the United Kingdom - becoming Cabello’s most successful track to date.
Another return to this year’s rundown is the Quick Riser second place pick Julia Michaels. Whilst “Issues” has been Michaels’ stand out track of 2017, it was “Uh Huh” that cemented her place as one of this year’s most acclaimed pop talents. The single even made its way into The Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Songs of 2017”, taking the #16 spot. Her undeniably infectious brand of mature alt-pop is now firmly grounded, and will see Michaels become the pop world’s premier songwriter and a bonafide popstar in her own right next year.
2017’s third place spot has been taken by Sigrid. HH can thank Niels Bruwier again for drawing our eyes to the Norwegian songwriter who became an international viral sensation when she dropped her debut single “Don’t Kill My Vibe”; a song which took her to Glastonbury’s Park Stage and everybody’s favourite Spotify playlists. Sigrid managed to pinpoint this year’s synth-pop sound before almost everybody else, marking herself out as one to take over in 2018. - LL
HumanHuman, as a platform, rewards users whose discoveries become labeled as promising, via community consensus. This category awards those members of HH who have had a considerable number of promising discoveries in 2017. This year’s standout user is Blubb Blubb A.K.A. DUFFSTER, who leads the pack with 63 promising discoveries; a number that dwarfs second place by 30 points. Ranking at #33 in HH’s Best Discoverer of all time, Blubb Blubb was first to pick out both Azusena and BROCKHAMPTON this year, two of the most energising emerging artists of 2017.
Hillydilly takes second place, with 34 notches on their HH bedpost. They’re the 61st Best Discover of all time on the platform with a stellar record. The respected tastemaker blog has discovered some of site’s most impressive additions - with Oh Wonder, SG Lewis and Billie Eilish to their name; this year, Raveena, FARR and Yellow Days stood out as promising picks. With Yellow Days, in particular, really hitting his stride in 2017.
Third place is taken by Niels Bruwier and Going Solo; who both have 20 promising discoveries to their name this year. Niels runs Dansende Beren, a respected Belgian buzz blog and has been responsible for adding Desiigner and Neiked to HumanHuman. This year Bruwier’s notable picks include some of 2017’s standout artists - Camila Cabello, Kailee Morgue, Sigrid and WWWater. Going Solo is Italy’s premier new music blog, having discovered Mac DeMarco and Tobias Jesso Jr. before anybody else. Standout picks for 2017 include some of the year’s most exciting acts such as Hannah Jane Lewis, Alice Merton, Rainsford and Melis. - LL
Let’s go full Mean Girls for a second. This category awards popularity, singling out those users who have gained the most new followers in 2017 (I’m #15… just saying). These members of the HH community are the ones who are watched most closely, as their picks tend to be A* selections. The #1 spot has gone to HighClouds with 57 new followers this year. Their discoveries include Khalid, Noname and Lil Pump. The new music blog also added Lewis Capaldi to the site, an artist who has broken out this year and made his way onto the “BBC Sound Of 2018” longlist. Second place, with 55 new followers, goes to Parisian tastemaker Sodwee; who discovered the likes of Snakehips, Hayley Kiyoko and Her whilst also having one of this year’s most enigmatic promising discoveries in The Ghost Of Helags. Third place has, somewhat controversially, been assigned to HH head honcho Senne with 53 new followers - a number that is equalled by Belgian curator Disco Naïveté. So, let’s call this one a tied #3. Senne has discovered Alabama Shakes and King Krule, amongst others. Whilst Disco Naïveté has artists such as Hozier, Haim and FKA Twigs to their name. - LL
This year, it’s been a joy to welcome 1,100 new users to the HumanHuman family, directly leading to more discoveries, more agrees and an ever-expanding radar on and off-line in throughout various underground music scenes. While it takes some users a little while to get their feet off the ground, and that’s no bad thing either, there have been a few newcomers who really took off in 2017. Our fifth best newcomer with 153 reputation points (combined points of discoveries and agrees) is the user simply known as marcus, a hydrated talent spotter who worked over at ninetyonemgmt and is also an A&R for Unrestricted, consulting with SONGS Publishing and Island Records. New music reviewer Symbiosis Blog is next in the running with 161 points and a profile biography that really sums up the spirit of HumanHuman: “I've been following new music for a while now and recently have started my own blog. I'm always excited to find new and breaking artists and champion them as best I can!” We’re certainly excited to see who Symbiosis’ first few discoveries will be. Just edging ahead into third place with 162 points is Nate Hernandez, who oversees Miller Place described as “a musician-founded collective for rebelliously authentic creators.” With 14 rising discoveries already under his belt, this newcomer is one to follow if you’ve a penchant for R&B and pop. Moving into second place with 174 points is art / commerce, an independent record label. Lastly, here’s our number one newcomer for 2017 LA NUYT with 207 reputation points, a self-proclaimed lover of synths and keyboards, as well as being a former radio playlist curator and a current A&R manager. He’s introduced 17 new discoveries to the site and we’re sure he’ll continue to use that fine-tuned ear to scout out even more. If you’re not already following them, you had better start now! - HT
Last year we introduced a new feature to the site that has since become an invaluable avenue for emerging, unknown and even successful artists and bands to connect with our users: feedback. Simply put, musicians and/or their representatives can submit their music, whether public releases, private streams, songs that are years old, or unfinished demos, along with some questions sent directly to users of their choosing. Providing feedback is optional, of course, but there are those members who go above and beyond to provide detailed, honest and above all confidential answers. We’d like to thanks these users for taking the time to make our Feedback Tool the helpful resource that it is today! Let’s give a hand to our founder Senne, creator of the tool and provider of 5,952 words of feedback, to top Italian blog Going Solo for 7,206 words this year, to New York music lover Jon Vilardi for 8,580 words, to the Parisian tastemaker Sodwee for 15,126 words and lastly, the biggest round of applause you can muster for Belgian blog HighClouds who have delivered 26,979 words of advice throughout 2017. - HT
While at the core of HumanHuman, we are a music discovery community, with daily finds, open discussions and feedback campaigns, we also like to tie all that activity together with articles from a team of international writers. You may already be pretty familiar with our monthly Most Promising Artists Of… reviews, but we also love to explore the music industry, dig into trends, interview artists and make playlists. We wouldn’t be able to do 2017 at HumanHuman justice if we didn’t look back on those top five pieces that racked up more reads than any other. Coming in fifth place is a wonderful playlist feature, Melis Recommends Ten Emerging Acts, which saw the Berlin-based indie pop talent hand picking ten artists with a song each that she thought readers absolutely had to know about, including Wafia, Weyes Blood, Haiku Hands, Cosima and more. Next up was another set of recommendations, this time from guest writer Melissa Scheinberg (of Lunatic Entertainment and formerly of Sony Australia): Spotlight On Australia’s Emerging Artists. Here the Aussie-ophile endorsed the unmissable talents of BLESSED, Ceres, Didirri, Hatchie, Nocturnal Tapes, Roland Tings, Ruby Fields, Sloan Peterson, Skegss and Winston Surfshirt, plus even more to be found in the curated playlist. One noticeable trend of 2017 was the deluge of teen talent making their mark via the equalizing expanse of the online music world. Therefore, our third most read article of the year had to be 20 Under 20, a self-explanatory, yet nevertheless essential, list of twenty rising artists who just so happen to be under the age of twenty. One of the landmarks of every year at HumanHuman is the annual International Women’s Day, in which we investigate the current and prospective experience of women who work within the music industry. Our third iteration of this concept, Women In Music 2017, has been our second most read article of the year. And so, finally, the announcement that you’ve made it this far for. Enter the imaginary drum roll please… it’s our Deconstructing Musical Trends For 2017 that is the most read article of the year! Another guest piece from the indomitable Missy Scheinberg, who intricately summarised future trends with a few key names to look out for. Looking back with hindsight, it turns out that our visiting expert is almost certainly something of a clairvoyant. We’re looking forward to bringing you even more written content in 2018, so keep those eyes open and ready for some reading. - HT
To finish, here’s shout out to all the amazing people who made HumanHuman possible this year. A special thank you to Lyor Cohen, Hannah Thacker, Djamel Grine, Lex Low, Deep Shah, Missy Scheinberg, Bastien Raynault, Jolyon Checketts, Matthew Kent, Christal Yuen, Sam Friedman, Jon Vilardi, Jarri Van der Haegen and Senne Van Den Bogaert.