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Aretha Franklin Named First-Ever Icon Award Winner At 2014 Billboard Women In Music Awards


Franklin to Accept Award at Star Studded Luncheon on December 12

(NEW YORK, NY) December 3, 2014 Billboard, the leading global destination for charts, news, trends and innovations in music,today announces legendary artist Aretha Franklin as the recipient of the first-ever Billboard Women in Music Icon award. Franklin will receive the honor at the ninth annual Billboard Women in Music Awards, on December 12 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. She will be recognized with a line up of industry superstars, including Taylor Swift, who will be accepting the award for Woman of the Year, Ariana Grande for Rising Star, Idina Menzel for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Paramore’s Hayley Williams, for Trailblazer, with several more major announcements yet to come.

The first-ever Icon award exemplifies lifetime achievement for a female artist whose career has had a lasting impact to the music industry.

“I am very pleased, honored and surprised to receive this most prestigious Billboard Icon Award,” said Aretha Franklin. “For many years and I still read Billboard, my favorite industry magazine following the charts, stories, events and upcoming events. This will be an event to remember.”

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is royalty on Billboard‘s charts. She and fellow legend Stevie Wonder share the record for the most No. 1 hits – 20 – in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart’s entire history. Most recently, in October, her cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” became her 100th hit on the ranking. She’s the first woman (and just the fourth act overall) to reach the milestone.

On the overall Billboard Hot 100, Franklin is also a standard-setter. She continues to hold the record for the most Hot 100-charted songs by a female artist: 73. Her most recent album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, marked her highest debut ever on the Billboard 200, bowing at No. 13. The set – her 47th entry – is her highest-charting album since 1985’s Who’s Zoomin’ Who also reached No. 13.

“Aretha Franklin is quite possibly the most influential woman in music history, with her ability to inspire new generations evinced just recently with her chart-topping Adele cover,” said Janice Min, co-president and chief creative officer of Guggenheim Media’s Entertainment Group, which consists of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s not a female performer alive who doesn’t tip her hat to Ms. Franklin. The Icon Award expands Women in Music to recognize the industry’s legends, and we could think of no better person as our first recipient.”

The annual Billboard Women in Music event celebrates the most powerful and talented women in music. Past honorees at Women in Music include Katy Perry, P!nk and Janelle Monae. Taylor Swift will be the first woman in Billboard history to be honored twice.

The event is held in conjunction with the much-anticipated publication of Billboard’s Women in Music Power Players list, out December 5, which recognizes 51 top female music executives who are leading the industry with their artistic and business vision.

Hitting an all-time high of nearly 14 million monthly unique visitors to its website in September 2014, Billboard has seen a 56 percent year-over-year growth of its online readership. Billboard has scored major news-generating covers recently, that have featured a range of talent including Iggy Azalea, Lorde, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Shakira, Idina Menzel, Pharrell Williams, Tom Petty, Mick Jagger and Miranda Lambert.