Streaming has transformed the way we all consume music and the music industry as a whole. Data has become more readily available than at any other time in history, and now it’s possible to see the most streamed track from each year of the 21st century.
There are an array of streaming platforms, such as Amazon Music, Apple Music and Deezer, but since its incarnation in 2006, Spotify has become the home of music. The Swedish platform has shaken up the music industry as we all have all the songs to record available to listen to in our pocket. While there are plenty of reasons why the Swedish startup has hurt artists, including the misery it pays per stream, the stats offer some intriguing insight into our viewing habits.
In an interview with The Guardian, Geoff Taylor, Managing Director of the British Phonographic Industry and the Brit Awards, spoke of the impact of streaming on British music: “More artists than ever are able to carve out a career in music thanks to the global reach streaming. There is a wide range of offerings to choose from and increased investment in labels helps realize their creative and commercial potential, increasing the possibility of “breaking through” in a hyper-competitive global market.
“The rise of streaming means that thousands of artists are seeing their songs played in the tens and hundreds of millions in the UK alone – last year 1,800 artists made over 10 million streams – 72% more than the 1,048 who achieved the equivalent number of sales in the CD era. Typically, UK artists will then see four times as many streams globally to generate significant artist revenue through to streaming.
Interestingly, a new BBC-sanctioned survey has shed light on the biggest winners of the streaming era and revealed the most-streamed songs in the UK in each year of the 21st century. Surprisingly, most of the tracks on the list are courtesy of local talent.
The artist with the most entries on the list is Ed Sheeran, who has achieved this feat three times. In 2014 his track ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was the most streamed song in Britain, and Sheeran did it again three years later with ‘Shape Of You’. Additionally, in 2021, the Suffolk singer-songwriter’s “Bad Habits” was the most-listened to on streaming platforms.
Meanwhile, Eminem is the only non-British act to make the list twice. “Lose Yourself” was the top-streamed track of 2002, and “Slim Shady” followed eight years later with his collaboration with Rihanna, “Love The Way You Lie.”
There are a few surprising entrants to make the list, like soft-rock band Toploader’s “Dancing On The Moonlight” has been the song Brits have loved the most since 2000, and they can’t get enough of it either. The Kooks’ 2006 indie-pop hit, ‘Naive’.
See the full list below.
The most streamed songs of the 21st century in the UK
2000 – “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Toploader
2001 – “How Do You Remind Me” by Nickelback
2002 – ‘Get Lost’ by Eminem
2003 – ‘Mr Brightside’ by The Killers
2004 – “Let Me Love You” by Mario
2005 – “I Bet You’re Good On The Dancefloor” by Arctic Monkeys
2006 – ‘Naive’ by The Kooks
2007 – ‘Adolescent Fluorescent’ by Arctic Monkeys
2008 – “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
2009 – “Party In The USA” by Miley Cyrus
2010 – ‘Love The Way You Lie’ by Eminem Ft. Rihanna
2011 – “Someone Like You” by Adele
2012 – ‘Let Her Go’ by Passenger
2013 – ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy
2014 – “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
2015 – ‘Cheap Thrills’ by Sia
2016 – ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ by James Arthur
2017 – ‘Shape Of You’ by Ed Sheeran
2018 – “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi
2019 – ‘Dance Monkey’ by Tones & I
2020 – ‘Head & Heart’ by Joel Corry Ft. MNEK
2021 – “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran
2022 – “As It Was” by Harry Styles
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