Rihanna

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Rihanna quietly made her first non-sampled vocal appearance since 2017

The last decade of music saw major artists break many of the rules about how to release an album. Beyoncé and Drake popularized the "surprise release" — putting out albums with little to no roll-out at all. So in the era of surprise digital drops, and at the beginning of a new year of music, how do you make predictions about what's coming?

What does it mean to be influential? When the Turning the Tables team got together to create a list of the most influential women and non-binary artists of the 21st century, we found ourselves challenged by just how much ground that word – "influential" – can cover. It's a question that only led us to more questions: Who gets to decide what comprises an artist's legacy? What does it mean to shape the sound of a moment? What does it take to truly last?

The technology of the day has everything to do with how you get your music — and the music business is pushing more and more toward streaming.

With services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Apple Music, there are a bunch of companies that want your ears — and your money.