In 2018 Ed Sheeran was once again the most played artist in the UK, according to data from music licensing company PPL.
He has held the top spot in three of the last four years – 2018, 2017 and 2015. Since his first album released in 2011 he has been in the top five most played artists five times.
In 2018, alongside Sheeran as the most played artist, Portugal. The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’ was the most played track.
In 2018 nine out of the ten most played artists were British, with P!nk the only non-UK artist featured. This has only happened once before, in 2012, when all ten were British. Many of these artists like Calvin Harris, Little Mix, Clean Bandit, and Jess Glynne have appeared multiple times in recent years, reflecting the current strength of UK music. Little Mix has made it into the top five for three years in a row. Calvin Harris has been in the top ten for three years running, rising from ninth in 2016 to second in 2018. Seven of the top ten tracks also feature British talent, cementing a successful year for the UK industry.
Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL said, “Radio, TV and public performance usage is a significant indicator of the most played music in the country, so PPL is pleased to report a successful 2018 for home-grown UK talent. Ed Sheeran again keeps his place as most played artist, but other performers like Calvin Harris and Little Mix have also held their 2017 top five spots, helping UK music come out on top. Congratulations is also due to Portugal. The Man for their chart topping ‘Feel It Still’, and to all the other artists that made it into our top ten charts. It was a fantastic year for music and we wish all artists and rightsholders a successful 2019.”
Jess Glynne is another UK talent that has become a mainstay of PPL’s Most Played Charts, appearing in the top ten most played artist in four of the last five years, either as a collaborator or standalone artist. Her rise has contributed to a new milestone for the charts. 2018 was the first time that six out of the top ten artists featured women.
The top ten most played tracks also feature the highest number of women since 2012, with seven women making an appearance, in 2012 the number was eight. P!nk is one artist that has helped this happen; her song ‘What About Us’ made it into the top ten for the second year in a row. This has only ever been achieved once before, by Maroon 5 and ‘Moves Like Jagger’ in 2011 and 2012.
Ben Cook, President of Atlantic Records, part of Warner Music UK, said, “It was an amazing achievement when Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit claimed one, two and three in PPL’s ‘Most Played Tracks’ last year, and that Ed was PPL’s Most Played Artist. For the label to pull off both number one positions again – Ed in the Artist chart for a second year running, and Portugal. The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’ in the Track chart – is incredible.”
The Charts were created using PPL’s exclusive UK music usage and airplay data. This data is supplied by licensees, including radio stations and TV channels, as well as businesses and organisations such as pubs, clubs, bars and shops all across the UK.
Recently, PPL UK has reported its highest-ever annual revenues as it paid out to a record number of musicians and rights holders.