Music News

Published on May 28th, 2019 | by Alan Cross

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Who are the most-streamed artists of all time? Well, it depends who you ask and how you measure things.

Spotify was founded by 23-year-old Daniel Ek in April 2006 but didn’t go live until October 7, 2018, meaning it’s just ten years old as an active streaming service. Add in Apple Music (launched June 30, 2015), and YouTube (est. February 14, 2005) and we have almost endless choice in the streaming space.

So who is the most-streamed artist? It depends on the platform.

So which artists have benefited most? Digital Music News reports this on the top global artists on Spotify:

  1. Drake, 23 billion streams
  2. Ed Sheeran, 16.76 billion
  3. The Weeknd, 16.50 billion
  4. Rihanna, 12.85 billion
  5. Eminem, 12.50 billion
  6. Ariana Grande, 11.8 billion
  7. Justin Bieber, 10.44 billion
  8. Coldplay, 10.17 billion
  9. Post Malone, 9.90 billion
  10. Kanye West, 9.82 billion

Now let’s switch to Apple Music–which, by the way, doesn’t provide actual streaming totals.

  1. Drake
  2. Kendrick Lamar
  3. Taylor Swift
  4. Ed Sheeran
  5. The Weeknd.
  6. J. Cole
  7. Bruno Mars
  8. Migos
  9. Future
  10. Post Malone

Note the different in the two lists. This points to different user bases and streaming preferences.

Finally, there’s YouTube, which is a different beast altogether because of the video component.

  1. Luis Fonsi, “Despacito,” 6.2 billion views
  2. Ed Sheeran, “Shape of You,” 4.2 billion
  3. Wiz Khalifa, “See You Again,” 4.1 billion
  4. Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk,” 3.5 billion
  5. Masha and the Bear, “Recipe for Disaster,” 3.5 billion
  6. Psy, “Gangnam Style,” 3.3 billion
  7. Justin Bieber, “Sorry,” 3.1 billion
  8. Maroon 5, “Sugar,” 2.9 billion
  9. Katy Perry, “Roar,” 2.8 billion
  10. Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off,” 2.7 billion.

Loads more stats here.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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