1 Ed Sheeran named as artist of the decade, 2019

SIMON Cowell’s baleful influence on British pop has been waning for some time now, but in its place, we have seen rise of what music critic Peter Robinson waspishly labelled “the New Boring”.

Polite, pleasant, mostly acoustic, it’s a label that’s been applied to Mumford & Sons, the music used in John Lewis Christmas ads, and even Adele. But its poster boy is Ed Sheeran.

With three of the most successful singles of the decade to his name, as number ones since 2010 and a reported net worth of £160m, Sheeran has been ubiquitous in the last decade. We leave it to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not.

2 Stormzy, Glastonbury, 2019

You might argue that grime’s arrival in the mainstream of British pop came a decade earlier when Dizzee Rascal went to number one with his single Bonkers, but this summer’s headline set by Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, aka Stormzy, was the moment when it became clear that grime wasn’t an alternative to British pop, it was British pop.

A year before he had closed out the Brit Awards with a verbal attack on the then Prime Minister Theresa May over her reaction to the Grenfell tragedy and he has since put his money where his mouth is by setting up scholarships for black students. Soon Cambridge were talking about the “Stormzy effect” when explaining the rise in the number of black students applying.

3 Spotify vs Taylor Swift, 2014

Launched in 2008, Spotify only began to get traction in the British marketplace at the end of 2009 and wasn’t even launched in the US until 2011. Now it’s at the heart of the digital revolution that has transformed the music industry, with 217million monthly users.

The only people unhappy with all of this were the artists. In 2014 Taylor Swift pulled her music from the platform complaining about Spotify’s miserly royalty rate. Thom Yorke and Jay Z did likewise. The rapper had good reason. He’d bought Spotify’s rival Tidal in 2014. But as Tidal struggles to find market share, Jay-Z this month announced that his music is returning to Spotify for his 50th birthday. Swift returned to the platform in 2017.

4 Kendrick Lamar wins the Pulitzer Prize, 2018

The decision to award the Pulitzer Prize for Music last year to rapper Kendrick Lamar for his album Damn was another leap forward for hip hop. In 2017 rap had become the most popular genre in US music for the first time. It’s surprising that it took so long.

Lamar made his major-label debut in 2012 but it was his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly, very much a state-of-the-nation address, that saw him hailed as the greatest rapper alive, the voice of a generation at a time when black America was becoming more and more outspoken with the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement.

5 The death of David Bowie, 2016

Three years ago, on his 69th birthday David Bowie released his 25th and, as it turned out, his final album Blackstar. Two days later news of his death was announced.

It’s been a tough 10 years for pop music. In 2016 alone we also lost George Michael and Prince. Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Amy Winehouse, Scotland’s Jack Bruce and Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison are among the many who left us between 2010 and 2019.

Bowie’s leaving of the stage was both a surprise and, it became obvious, part of the story of his last album.

“The producer Tony Visconti, Bowie’s long-time friend and collaborator said in its wake, “He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift.”

6 Janelle Monae comes out, 2018

Last year Janelle Monae, one of the decade’s boldest and most original stars, announced that she was “a queer black woman”.

It was a symptom of changing attitudes in the music industry. When she first emerged in 2010 Monae dodged questions about her sexuality. “I only date androids,” was her standard line. But her coming out was another reminder of the part queerness plays in contemporary pop.

Across the Atlantic, France’s Heloise Letissier, Christine and the Queens, like Monae, identified herself as “pansexual” in 2014. Both women have also addressed their sexuality, with subtlety and humour, in their music.

7 One Direction split up, 2016

Every decade has its boybands. One Direction owned this one. Perhaps the last true hurrah of Simon Cowell’s X Factorisation of British pop, they finished third in the 2010 series, signed to Cowell’s Syco label and then made five albums, won seven Brit awards and earned millions from record sales and touring.

The five-piece became a four-piece in 2015 when Zayn Malik announced his departure. By the end of the year the band revealed they were taking a hiatus that quickly turned into a permanent split.

Solo careers followed. Harry Styles in particular made an impact. But who would bet against a reunion at some point in the 2020s?

8 Pop under attack, 2017

On Friday, November 13, 2015, three armed Isis gunmen burst into the Bataclan in Paris during an Eagles of Death Metal gig and opened fire, killing 130 people.

Two years later, in June 2017, a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device in the foyer of the Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande gig, killing 23 people and wounding 139, half of them children. Isis claimed responsibility.

Both tragedies were a reminder that pop music’s visibility is a temptation and an affront to murderous death cults.

Grande said the bombing left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her next single was entitled No Tears Were Left to Cry

Still, she returned to headline the One Love Manchester tribute concert two weeks after the bombing.

9 Gerry Cinnamon sells out Hampden, 2019

There is no greater symbol of how the music industry has changed in the last 10 years than unsigned act Gerry Cinnamon selling out Hampden in a matter of hours.

Cinnamon and his countryman Lewis Capaldi are both musicians who came to the fore via social media. When his album came out Cinnamon tweeted: “No marketing. No posters. No label. No radio. Just tunes and word of mouth. No problem. X”

He’s a star who is also largely unknown outside his fervent fanbase. Earlier this month The Face headlined an interview with the Castlemilk singer: “Who the Hell is Gerry Cinnamon”. He’s the man who can sell 50,000 tickets in a matter of hours, that’s who.

10 Dancing with Myself, Robyn, 2010

Where does that leave us? Maybe remembering that the gossip, the industry tittle-tattle, the hype, the media controversies, the tragedies, all only matter because of the music.

And the last decade has given us great music from the likes of (deep breath) Beyonce, Bjork, Carly Rae Jepsen, Daft Punk, Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs, Kathryn Joseph, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Nick Cave, St. Vincent, Skepta, the Unthanks, the Young Fathers and … Well, insert your own favourite here.

And then there was Robyn. Dancing on My Own is both a proper banger and a heartbreaker, designed for the dancefloor but freighted with heartache. It is a reminder of why you cared about pop in the first place.