Dua Lipa’s success knocks Ed Sheeran from the top spot, which he has held every year since 2017. However, he was still the second most played artist of the year, mainly due to his strong back catalogue.
Afterglow, his only release of 2020, did not come out until late December. Ariana Grande was the year’s third most played artist, the first time she has appeared in PPL’s top 10 artists chart, thanks to hits including her Lady Gaga collaboration Rain On Me, which was the year’s 10th most played track.
In a reversal on recent trends, there is only one collaboration amongst 2020’s top five most played tracks – Kygo and Whitney Houston’s Higher Love, at number three.
Since 2008 collaborations have received an increasing share of radio airplay, culminating in four of 2019’s top five tracks featuring more than one artist. Higher Love is a repeat entry, having been released in June 2019 and coming sixth in that year’s most played tracks chart.
Only one other track since PPL started its charts in 2008 has appeared in the top 10 in multiple years – P!nk’s What About Us, which was 2017’s ninth most played track and 2018’s 10th most played track.
Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Sam Smith, who were the three most played artists of 2019, are also among 2020’s top five most played artists.
Sheeran takes second place, Smith is fourth and Harris is in fifth position. Alongside Coldplay and Little Mix, Harris has been in the top 10 most played artists chart every year for the last five years, from 2016 to 2020.
Meanwhile, Coldplay have achieved the unmatched feat of having been one of the 10 most played artists for eight of the last 10 years. Coldplay finished in seventh position on the 2020 chart, one place below Little Mix.
“Music’s power as a force for good was needed more than ever in 2020 as we faced a year like no other,” said Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL.
“The artists in our 2020 charts played a significant role in helping many of us to get through these difficult times and I would like to congratulate them all. I am also immensely proud of the work that PPL did last year, collecting royalties for the public performance of recorded music and distributing these to the performers and record labels that created it. With live music shut down for much of 2020, PPL’s royalty payments became an even more important source of income for these artists.”
PPL’s Most Played Charts of 2020 are announced today as the company hosts its AGM and publishes its Annual Review, detailing last year’s financial and operational results.
In 2020 PPL collected a total of £225.7 million for performers and recording rightsholders. It distributed money at least once to over 135,000 performers and recording rightsholders.
PPL’s Most Played Tracks Chart of 2020
Blinding Lights – The Weeknd
Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
Higher Love – Kygo & Whitney Houston
Dance Monkey – Tones & I
Adore You - Harry Styles
Before You Go - Lewis Capaldi
Physical – Dua Lipa
Memories – Maroon 5
This Is Real – Jax Jones & Ella Henderson
Rain On Me – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande
PPL’s Most Played Artist Chart of 2020