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Billboard Music Award winners over the years

  • Billboard Music Award winners over the years
    1/ Disney/ABC Television Group // flickr

    Billboard Music Award winners over the years

    The Billboard Music Awards stands out among awards shows. Unlike the Oscars or Grammys — where there's so much suspense around who the voters will pick to win top honors that people actually join betting pools — the Billboard Music Awards is based on data from the legendary Billboard 200 charts, album and digital song sales, and other sources. That makes guessing who will win a little less challenging, as savvy fans could always run the numbers themselves.

    That's not to say a data-based approach doesn't have merit. An overview of every winner of the Billboard Music Awards gives people a remarkably accurate picture of the most popular artists through the years, as these awards can be traced directly back to top-charting songs and the most purchased albums.

    To give readers an idea of how these awards have changed, Stacker compiled data from Billboard's Winners Database to track the Billboard Music Award winners over the years. This list, organized chronologically, includes the winners from each of the seven major categories: Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Female Artist, Top New Artist, Top Duo/Group, Top Hot 100 Song, and Top Billboard 200 Album.

    However, not every category announces winners each year. In some years, only two of the top seven categories announced winners. When an award was not presented, Stacker noted that it was not included in that year's ceremony. Stacker also didn't consider all the other 50-plus categories that have been awarded at one time or another, including the 30 categories that have since been retired. It's important to note that the Billboard Music Awards have not been held consistently since their conception in 1990. For example, the Billboard Music Awards were not held at all from 2007 to 2010.

    Read on to find out which artist reigned supreme at each year's Billboard Music Awards and see which of your favorite artists have garnered the most awards.

    You may also like: Famous moments in music history from the year you were born

  • 1990
    2/ Simon Baker // Getty Images

    1990

    - Top Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: Not awarded
    - Most wins: Janet Jackson (8 awards)

    Janet Jackson took home the most awards of any artist at the Billboard Music Awards' first annual ceremony, winning eight trophies for her 1989 smash-album "Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation: 1814." At the time, Jackson was just 24 years old and said her album title was inspired by the year that Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem.

  • 1991
    3/ AFP // Getty Images

    1991

    - Top Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by Bryan Adams
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Mariah Carey" by Mariah Carey
    - Most wins: Garth Brooks and C+C Music Factory (5 awards)

    Though Mariah Carey was still new to the charts in 1991, that didn't stop her from walking away with five Billboard Awards, including the #1 Hot 100 Singles Artist award and the #1 Album award for her self-titled debut. Country legend Garth Brooks and hip hop music group C+C Music Factory tied for the most awarded, with five awards each.

  • 1992
    4/ Vince Bucci/AFP // Getty Images

    1992

    - Top Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Kris Kross
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: Not awarded
    - Most wins: Michael Jackson (3 awards)

    In a year known as one of the best musical years of the 1990s, we see some legends showing up in the Billboard Music Awards winners' list. Boyz II Men took home the award for the Top Hot 100 Song for “End of the Road,” while Kris Kross got Top New Artist. Other winners included Garth Brooks, Guns N' Roses, Jodeci, and U2.

  • 1993
    5/ Jo Hale // Getty Images

    1993

    - Top Artist: Whitney Houston
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "The Bodyguard Soundtrack" by Whitney Houston
    - Most wins: Whitney Houston (11 awards)

    Whitney Houston swept the 1993 Billboard Music Awards, taking home a whopping 11 awards for her work on “The Bodyguard” soundtrack, including the #1 World Artist award. Her iconic recording of “I Will Always Love You” helped propel Houston to success.

  • 1994
    6/ Ethan Miller // Getty Images

    1994

    - Top Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Male Artist: Snoop Dogg
    - Top Female Artist: Mariah Carey
    - Top New Artist: Ace of Base
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "The Sign" by Ace of Base
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: Not awarded
    - Most wins: Ace of Base (2 awards)

    The 1994 Billboard Music Awards winners' list reads like a who's who of ‘90s music: Snoop Dogg was the Top Male Artist, while Mariah Carey was the Top Female Artist. Ace of Base also took home two awards.

  • 1995
    7/ Vince Bucci // Getty Images

    1995

    - Top Artist: TLC
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Real McCoy
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Cracked Rear View" by Hootie & the Blowfish
    - Most wins: TLC (3 awards)

    TLC won big at the 1995 installment of this award show, taking home honors for Top Artist, R&B Single, and R&B Artist. Other winners included Notorious B.I.G. for his single “One More Chance/Stay With Me” and Kenny G for Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Year.

  • 1996
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    1996

    - Top Artist: Alanis Morissette
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: The Tony Rich Project
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Macarena" by Los del Río (Single of the Year)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: Not awarded
    - Most wins: Mariah Carey (2 awards)

    Mariah Carey's popularity continued at the 1996 Billboard Music Awards. Not only did she claim the Hot 100 Singles Award of the Year, but she also took home a special award for Most Weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100, along with Boyz II Men for “One Sweet Day,” which charted for 16 weeks.

  • 1997
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    1997

    - Top Artist: LeAnn Rimes
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Spice Girls
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Candle in the Wind 1997" by Elton John
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Spice" by Spice Girls
    - Most wins: Elton John (4 awards)

    Fifteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes won three awards, including Top Artist and Top Female Artist, at the 1997 awards ceremony, coming just one award behind living legend Elton John. Other winners included Puff Daddy (now known as Diddy), the Spice Girls, and Third Eye Blind.

  • 1998
    10/ Getty Images

    1998

    - Top Artist: Usher
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Shania Twain
    - Top New Artist: Next
    - Top Duo/Group: Next
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Too Close" by Next
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture" by Celine Dion
    - Most wins: Next (8 awards)

    LeAnn Rimes had another good year in 1998, winning five awards for “How Do I Live” and “You Light Up My Life.” Celine Dion also took home six awards—for both her work on the soundtrack to "Titanic" and her album “Let's Talk About Love”—but Next swept the show with eight awards, thanks to the single “Too Close.”

  • 1999
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    1999

    - Top Artist: Backstreet Boys
    - Top Male Artist: Ricky Martin
    - Top Female Artist: Britney Spears
    - Top New Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Duo/Group: Backstreet Boys
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Believe" by Cher
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Millennium" by Backstreet Boys
    - Most wins: Backstreet Boys (4 awards)

    The 1999 Billboard Music Awards marked the Backstreet Boys' rise to superstardom. The band's megahit album “Millennium” helped them take home four major awards, including Top Artist and Top Duo/Group. Fellow teen star Britney Spears also won three awards, including for “...Baby One More Time.”

  • 2000
    12/ Kevin Winter // Getty Images

    2000

    - Top Artist: Destiny's Child
    - Top Male Artist: Sisqó
    - Top Female Artist: Christina Aguilera
    - Top New Artist: Sisqó
    - Top Duo/Group: Destiny's Child
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Breathe" by Faith Hill
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "No Strings Attached" by *NSYNC
    - Most wins: Sisqó (6 awards)

    Though Sisqo was honored as the Top New Artist and took home five other awards in 2000, he wasn't the only breakout star. Two popular groups—Destiny's Child and *NSYNC—also won up to four awards apiece.

  • 2001
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    2001

    - Top Artist: Destiny's Child
    - Top Male Artist: Shaggy
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Lifehouse
    - Top Duo/Group: Destiny's Child
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Hanging by a Moment" by Lifehouse
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "1" by The Beatles
    - Most wins: R. Kelly and Tim McGraw (5 awards)

    Though their musical styles couldn't be more different, R. Kelly and Tim McGraw were equally massive successes in 2001. They each took home five Billboard Music Awards that year, while Destiny's Child continued to dominate the group competition. The Beatles took home the Top Billboard 200 Album award for “1.”

  • 2002
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    2002

    - Top Artist: Nelly
    - Top Male Artist: Nelly
    - Top Female Artist: Ashanti
    - Top New Artist: Not awarded 
    - Top Duo/Group: Creed
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "How You Remind Me" by Nickelback
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "The Eminem Show" by Eminem
    - Most wins: Ashanti (8 awards)

    In the battle between “Hot in Herre” and “Foolish,” Ashanti beat out Nelly for the most awards at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards. (While there was no award for Top New Artist that year, Ashanti won Top New Pop Artist of the Year and New R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year.) Moby also made an appearance in the winners' circle for his “Play” album, while Michael Jackson took home a special award in honor of “Thriller” topping the charts for 37 weeks.

  • 2003
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    2003

    - Top Artist: 50 Cent
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Duo/Group: 3 Doors Down
    - Top Hot 100 Song: Not awarded
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: Not awarded
    - Most wins: R. Kelly (4 awards)

    The 2003 Billboard Music Awards mixed up the categories a bit and awarded prizes for categories like Independent Album of the Year (to Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz for “Kings of Crunk”), Digital Track of the Year (to OutKast for “Hey Ya!”), and No.1 Rhythmic Top 40 Track of the Year (to Chingy for “Right Thurr”), skipping many of the usual categories like Top Male and Female Artist.

  • 2004
    16/ Frazer Harrison // Getty Images

    2004

    - Top Artist: Usher
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Alicia Keys
    - Top New Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Duo/Group: OutKast
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Yeah!" by Usher (feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Confessions" by Usher
    - Most wins: Usher (11 awards)

    Powered by the immense popularity of his smash hit album “Confessions” and single “Yeah!” featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris, Usher took home a whopping 11 awards at the 2004 Billboard Music Awards. Alicia Keys also performed well, winning seven awards.

  • 2005
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    2005

    - Top Artist: 50 Cent
    - Top Male Artist: Not awarded
    - Top Female Artist: Not awarded
    - Top New Artist: Gwen Stefani
    - Top Duo/Group: Not awarded
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "The Massacre" by 50 Cent
    - Most wins: 50 Cent and Green Day (6 awards)

    On opposite ends of the genre spectrum, 50 Cent and Green Day both won six awards at the 2005 Billboard Music Awards. In a surprising move, the awards also honored Larry the Cable Guy for his comedy album “The Right to Bare Arms.”

  • 2006
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    2006

    - Top Artist: Chris Brown
    - Top Male Artist: Chris Brown
    - Top Female Artist: Rihanna
    - Top New Artist: Chris Brown
    - Top Duo/Group: Nickelback
    - Top Hot 100 Song: Not awarded
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Some Hearts" by Carrie Underwood
    - Most wins: Mary J. Blige (9 awards)

    Despite their reputation as a widely reviled band, Nickelback is actually very popular—as their win for Artist-Duo/Group of the Year at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards proves. Mary J. Blige was the big winner that year for “Be Without You,” even winning the rarely awarded Videoclip of the Year.

  • 2011
    19/ MARK RALSTON/AFP // Getty Images

    2011

    - Top Artist: Eminem
    - Top Male Artist: Eminem
    - Top Female Artist: Rihanna
    - Top New Artist: Justin Bieber
    - Top Duo/Group: The Black Eyed Peas
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Recovery" by Eminem
    - Most wins: Eminem (6 awards)

    After a four-year hiatus caused by expiring contracts, the Billboard Music Awards returned in 2011. Eminem was the big winner that year, taking home six awards, including Top Artist and Top Male Artist. Justin Bieber also made his debut at the Billboard Music Awards and took home the award for Top New Artist.

  • 2012
    20/ Kevin Winter // Getty Images

    2012

    - Top Artist: Adele
    - Top Male Artist: Lil Wayne
    - Top Female Artist: Adele
    - Top New Artist: Wiz Khalifa
    - Top Duo/Group: LMFAO
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO (feat. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "21" by Adele
    - Most wins: Adele (12 awards)

    The 2012 Billboard Music Awards were all about Adele, who won 12 awards in total for her “21” album and the single “Rolling in the Deep.” Spurred by the success of “Party Rock Anthem,” LMFAO also took home several awards.

  • 2013
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    2013

    - Top Artist: Taylor Swift
    - Top Male Artist: Justin Bieber
    - Top Female Artist: Taylor Swift
    - Top New Artist: One Direction
    - Top Duo/Group: One Direction
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye (feat. Kimbra)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Red" by Taylor Swift
    - Most wins: Taylor Swift (8 awards)

    Country-pop phenom Taylor Swift was the star of the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, as she took home eight awards for her “Red” album. One Direction also burst onto the scene, racking up awards for Top New Artist, Top Duo/Group, and Top Pop Artist.

  • 2014
    22/ Ethan Miller // Getty Images

    2014

    - Top Artist: Justin Timberlake
    - Top Male Artist: Justin Timberlake
    - Top Female Artist: Katy Perry
    - Top New Artist: Lorde
    - Top Duo/Group: Imagine Dragons
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke (feat. T.I. and Pharrell)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "The 20/20 Experience" by Justin Timberlake
    - Most wins: Justin Timberlake (7 awards)

    Justin Timberlake's “The 20/20 Experience” album helped him nab seven Billboard Music Awards in 2014. Jennifer Lopez was also honored with the Billboard Icon Award, while Justin Bieber won the somewhat unusual award for Top Social Artist.

  • 2015
    23/ Ethan Miller // Getty Images

    2015

    - Top Artist: Taylor Swift
    - Top Male Artist: Sam Smith
    - Top Female Artist: Taylor Swift
    - Top New Artist: Sam Smith
    - Top Duo/Group: One Direction
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "1989" by Taylor Swift
    - Most wins: Taylor Swift (8 awards)

    Taylor Swift once again became the queen of the Billboard Music Awards in 2015, this time on the success of her “1989” album and hits like “Shake It Off.” Billboard also honored her with a Chart Achievement Award.

  • 2016
    24/ Kevin Winter // Getty Images

    2016

    - Top Artist: Adele
    - Top Male Artist: Justin Bieber
    - Top Female Artist: Adele
    - Top New Artist: Fetty Wap
    - Top Duo/Group: One Direction
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa (feat. Charlie Puth)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "25" by Adele
    - Most wins: The Weeknd (8 awards)

    At the 2016 awards, Billboard recognized the changing landscape of the music industry with several new categories such as Top Streaming Song-Audio (The Weeknd for “The Hills”) and Top Streaming Song-Video (Silentó for “Watch Me”). The Weeknd was the big winner, taking home a total of eight awards.

  • 2017
    25/ David Becker // Getty Images

    2017

    - Top Artist: Drake
    - Top Male Artist: Drake
    - Top Female Artist: Beyoncé
    - Top New Artist: Zayn Malik
    - Top Duo/Group: Twenty One Pilots
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Closer" by The Chainsmokers (feat. Halsey)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "Views" by Drake
    - Most wins: Drake (13 awards)

    In 2017, Drake set a Billboard Music Awards record by winning an outstanding 13 total awards, including Top Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album. Other big winners included Beyoncé and Twenty One Pilots, each of whom took home five awards.

  • 2018
    26/ Ethan Miller // Getty Images

    2018

    - Top Artist: Ed Sheeran
    - Top Male Artist: Ed Sheeran
    - Top Female Artist: Taylor Swift
    - Top New Artist: Khalid
    - Top Duo/Group: Imagine Dragons
    - Top Hot 100 Song: "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee (feat. Justin Bieber)
    - Top Billboard 200 Album: "DAMN." by Kendrick Lamar
    - Most wins: Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lamar (6 awards)

    The 2018 Billboard Music Awards was an especially emotional affair: Kelly Clarkson opened the show by asking for “a moment of change” in honor of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting, Luis Fonsi dedicated his award for “Despacito” to immigrants, and The Chainsmokers gave a moving tribute to Avicii. Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lamar tied for the most wins with six awards each.

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