iTunes Picks the Best of 2009
It's that time of year again when the endless, and always entertaining, year-end lists come out. The search engines have already had their say with Yahoo's top searches of 2009 , the most popular search questions of 2009 , and the top search term of the year . But no series of year-in-review articles would be complete without the hottest selections from the iTunes Store--one of the most popular retail stores on the planet.
The editorial team at iTunes spent some time before the holidays mulling over what they believe to be the best of the best in all of iTunes' departments including Music, Movies, Television, Podcasts, Audiobooks, and of course, iPhone Apps. You can check out the complete iTunes Rewind 2009: The Best of the Year compilation on the iTunes Store, but here are some highlights from each category.
The iTunes editorial team kicked off their best of 2009 series with a nicely curated mix of music from the past year. With the untimely passing of Michael Jackson in June, iTunes decided to honor the King of Pop as its Artist of the Year. Top album of the year honors were given to Kings of Leon's fourth studio album, Only By the Night, and Lady GaGa was chosen as Best New Artist.
I would highly recommend listening to the iTunes Rewind podcast #63 where the iTunes editors explain their music picks in greater detail including their reasoning for choosing Lady Gaga, an artist who debuted in August 2008, as Best New Artist for 2009. The list is simply too large to reprint here, but you can check out the complete music selection on iTunes .
Artist of the Year: Michael Jackson
Album of the Year: Only By The Night by Kings of Leon
Best New Artist: Lady Gaga
Best Alternative Album: Union byThe Boxer Rebellion
Best Country Album: Fearless by Taylor Swift
Hip-Hop/ Rap Best Single: Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z (featuring Alicia Keys)
Best Pop Single: Wonderful by Gary Go
Best New Rock Artist: Charm City Devils
Best Singer/Songwriter Album Reissue: Leonard Cohen (Live at the Isle of Wight 1970)
Best R&B/Soul Single: Pretty Wings by Maxwell
The iTunes Editorial Staff chose twelve top picks among iTunes movie downloads this year. Taking the top spot was Disney-Pixar's UP, the story of Carl Fredricksen, a grumpy old man whose lifelong dreams of adventure are rejuvenated after he meets Russell, a young Wilderness Explorer. Other notable films include JJ Abrams' reimagining of the classic Star Trek universe, numerous comedies and two notable documentaries: Tyson and Anvil! The Story of Anvil.
500 Days of Summer
Drag Me To Hell: Unrated Director's Cut
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
The iTunes Store also announced its top-selling movies for 2009 including Twilight, Pineapple Express, Quantum of Solace, The Proposal, and Star Trek.
This is a great time to be a television fan, with so many high-quality series continuing the tradition that started with ground-breaking hits like "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under." The iTunes Store has selected a wide range of favorite TV hits from 2009 in the categories of Comedy, Drama, Documentaries and more. Notable selections include AMC's "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," the CW's "Gossip Girl" and SyFy's "Battlestar Galactica."
Best Comedy Season: "Glee," Season 1
Best Comedy Episode: The Funcooker, "30 Rock"
Best Drama Season: "Breaking Bad," Season 2
Best Drama Episode: "Mad Men: The Gypsy and the Hobo"
Best Sci-Fi Season: "Battlestar Galactic," Season 4
Best Sci-Fi Episode: Epitaph, "Dollhouse"
Best Animation Season: "The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror" Collection 1
Best Animation Episode: "Family Guy: Road to Multiverse"
Best Reality Season: "Top Chef," Season 5
Best Reality Episode: "The Real Housewives of New Jersey: The Last Supper"
Best Teen Season: "Gossip Girl," Season 2
Best Teen Episode: "Glee: Showmance"
Best Kids Season: "Wizards of Waverly Place," Season 3
Best Kids Episode: "Hannah Montana: Super(stitious) Girl"
Best Sports Season: Top Gear, Series 12
Best Sports Episode: MLB Game of the Year: Rays at White Sox, July 23, 2009
Adam Carolla topped the iTunes editor's picks for best audio podcast, and America's most outspoken financial planner, Suze Orman, took the top spot for video podcasts. The iTunes team clearly had a hard time picking the best podcasts of the years, since the team included more than 100 podcasts on its list. You can check out all the podcast honorees on iTunes , but here are some of the highlights.
•1. The Adam Carolla Podcast
•2. A Life Well Wasted
•3. WTF with Marc Maron Podcast
•4. the memory palace
•5. Wire Tap
•1. The Suze Orman Show
•2. Old Jews Telling Jokes
•4. Rotten Tomatoes Show
•5. IGN.com's Daily Fix
If you love listening to audiobooks on your commute to work in the mornings, then check out iTunes' selection of the best audiobooks of 2009. They've got some great picks for fiction and non-fiction, including the top sellers over the past year. The Last Lecture by the late Randy Pausch tops the best selling non-fiction titles. Stephanie Meyer's vampire series Twilight looks unstoppable taking over three of the top 5 best-selling spots. Editor's picks for audiobooks include one my personal favorites from this year, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, as well as books from Mitch Albom, Dan Brown, Christopher Buckley, Tracy Morgan and Ron Paul. You can view the complete audiobook list on iTunes.
•1. The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
•2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
•3. Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King
•4. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
•5. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie
•1. Columbine by Dave Cullen
•2. The Gamble by Thomas E. Ricks
•3. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
•4. I Am the New Black by Tracy Morgan
•5. Losing Mom and Pup: A Memoir by Christopher Buckley
Top Selling Fiction
•1. The Shack: Special Edition by William P. Young
•2. Twilight (Book 1) by Stephenie Meyer
•3. New Moon (Book 2) by Stephenie Meyer
•4. Breaking Dawn (Book 4) by Stephenie Meyer
•5. Eclipse (Book 3) by Stephenie Meyer
Top Selling Non-Fiction
•1. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
•2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
•3. The Ricky Gervais Guide To...Philosophy by Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington
•4. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
•5. The Ricky Gervais Guide To...the Arts by Ricky Gervais et al.
iPhone and iPod Touch Applications
Choosing the best from among thousands of iPhone and iPod Touch applications is no easy task, so the iTunes team came up with a wide selection of what it believes to be the top apps of the year. With so many games being produced for the iPhone and iPod Touch by major gaming studios, it was surprising to see few major titles top the editor's picks. But the editors chose some great regular apps including the turn-by-turn navigator app Magellan Roadmate and CBS Sports' live streaming app.
You can see the entire list in the iTunes Store , but here are 5 highlights from each category.
Top 5 Games
•1. Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor
•2. Real Racing
•4. Sally's Spa
•5. Ragdoll Blaster--a Physics Puzzler
Top 5 Apps
•1. Reel Director
•2. Magellan Roadmate 2010 North America
•3. Jamie Oliver's 20 minute meals
•4. I Am T-Pain
•5. CBS Sports: Live College Games
Top Selling Games
•1. The Sims 3
•2. The Oregon Trail
•3. Need for Speed Undercover
•4. Madden 2010
•5. Tiger Woods PGA Tour
Top Selling Apps
•1. MobileNavigator North America
•2. MLB.com at Bat
•3. Textfree Unlimited
•4. TomTom US & Canada
•5. Slingplayer Mobile
Can't get enough end-of-the-year lists? Make sure you check out The PC World 100: Best Products of 2009 .
Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul ).