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 – and since his first album was released in 2011 he has been in the top five most played artists five times.
The news comes as PPL publishes its annual ‘Most Played Charts’, the only music charts that show which tracks are being played the most by broadcasters and in public by businesses and organisations across the UK. In 2018, alongside Sheeran as the most played artist, Portugal. The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’ was the most played track.
Ed Sheeran has contributed to a strong UK showing in the charts. 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 – 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 have made it in to 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.”