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Harry Styles leads British artists’ historic clean sweep of 2022’s top 10 singles

Record labels association, the BPI has revealed that UK artists have made history by claiming a clean sweep of 2022’s Top 10 singles for the first time ever, according to its analysis of Official Charts Company data.

This clean sweep was led by Harry Styles’ As It Was and also included hits by Calum Scott, Cat Burns, Ed Sheeran, Glass Animals, Kate Bush, LF System and Sam Fender.

The top 2022 singles are as follows:

  1. Harry Styles – As It Was

  2. Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits

  3. Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran – Peru

  4. Cat Burns – Go

  5. Ed Sheeran – Shivers

  6. Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill

  7. Glass Animals – Heat Waves

  8. Lost Frequencies & Calum Scott – Where Are You Now

  9. LF System – Afraid To Feel

  10. Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under

UK artists were also behind 15 of the year’s Top 20 singles and 58% of the year-end Top 100.

This strong homegrown presence is also significantly up compared to 2008, the year before Spotify launched in the UK and when the market was led by digital downloads and CDs.

Then, UK artists claimed four of the year’s Top 10 singles, seven of the Top 20 and just over 40% of the Top 100.

UK recorded music consumption increased for the eighth consecutive year in 2022, with more than 150 billion audio streams surpassed in a calendar year for the very first time, while three billion streams in a chart week is now commonplace.

In total, 166.1 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed or purchased across all formats by music fans in the past year.

Overall, Streaming Equivalent Albums (SEA) made up a record 86.1% of the market with over 159 billion individual audio streams generated across the year – up 8.2% on 2022 and more than double the volume achieved in 2017, when the market had 68.1 billion audio streams.

Artists from the UK ruled the charts for 36 weeks across 2022, led by Harry Styles’ As It Was (10 weeks at No.1), LF System’s Afraid To Feel (8 weeks at No. 1), Dave’s Starlight (4 weeks at No. 1), Sam Smith’s Unholy (with German artist Kim Petras) (4 weeks at No. 1), and Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill enjoying a three week run.

“It’s wonderful to see so many exciting new artists breaking through to thrive alongside more established UK artists – leading the next wave of British talent to global success thanks to the compelling mix of their creativity and artistry, the ever expanding opportunities afforded by streaming and the support of their record labels,” commented YolanDa Brown OBE DL – artist, music education campaigner and BPI Chair. “I congratulate British artists and their teams on another year of brilliant success.”

Harry Styles was also behind 2022’s top album with his Grammy and Mercury shortlisted Harry’s House, making him the first artist since Lewis Capaldi in 2019 with Someone You Loved and Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent, respectively, to have the year’s top single and album.

Harry’s House surpassed Ed Sheeran’s =, which ranked as the No. 2 album for a second consecutive year, while Taylor Swift’s Midnights was the year’s third biggest album, having become the only album in 2022 to achieve more than 200,000 chart-eligible sales in a single week.

UK artists have now provided the year’s top album in 21 of the 23 years this century. There were 11.6 million CDs and 5.5 million vinyl LPs purchased across the year, as well as 195,000 cassettes and 3.7 million album downloads.

Vinyl LPs represented 31.7% of all physical purchases as sales grew for a 15th consecutive year and reached their highest level in over 30 years (stretching back to 1990).

More than 3 billion audio streams were generated on average every week in 2022, compared to around 1.3 billion each week five years earlier. 

Over this time, the UK’s audio streaming market has more than doubled in size from 68.1 billion to 159.3 billion audio streams and was last year over 40 times bigger than in 2012 (3.7bn audio streams). It now takes, on average, 1.3 million audio streams to break into the Official Charts Top 40.

It now takes, on average, 1.3 million audio streams to break into the Official Charts Top 40.

Harry Styles claimed the top single in a calendar year for the first time with As It Was. It spent 10 consecutive weeks at No.1 on the Official Singles Chart (as well as 15 weeks topping the US Billboard Hot 100 – a record for a UK artist) and became the only track to surpass 180 million streams during 2022.

Having been 2021’s biggest single, Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits occupied the runners-up spot in 2022 as the track took its cumulative stream count to 354.3 million, while Sheeran was also at No.3 with his collaboration Peru with Fireboy DML and at No.5 with Shivers.

Despite not topping the weekly Official Singles Chart, BRITs Rising Star 2023 nominee Cat Burns had the year’s No.4 single, biggest debut hit and top single by a female artist with Go, which was first released in July 2020 and peaked at No.2 in June last year.

Highlighting a successful year for dance music, it was joined in the all-UK Top 10 by electronic duo LF System’s own breakthrough hit Afraid To Feel and Where Are You Now by Calum Scott (with Belgian DJ and producer Lost Frequencies), alongside hits by Glass Animals (Heat Waves), Kate Bush (Running Up That Hill) and Sam Fender (Seventeen Going Under).

“At a time when streaming has created unprecedented competition coming from every corner of the globe, it is astonishing that in 2022 British artists were involved in all of the top 10 calendar year’s biggest hits in the UK,” said Leon Neville, BPI’s director of research & insight.

“This outstanding achievement is a testament to the rich music talent that continues to emerge from across the UK’s nations and regions, fuelled by the passion, investment and skills of UK record labels.

“With streaming having led the market to an eighth consecutive annual rise in UK music consumption, this platform is creating new and increased opportunities for labels to connect many thousands of artists with expanding fanbases, while enabling even more of them to succeed.”

Harry Styles was also behind 2022’s top album with Harry’s House.

Driven by streaming, a hugely diverse range of talent featured among the year’s biggest hits.

This included Adele, Dua Lipa, Elton John and Sam Smith, George Ezra, Lewis Capaldi, Mimi Webb and Tom Odell, hip-hop/rap acts including A1 x J1, Aitch, ArrDee, Dave, D-Block Europe, SwitchOTR and Tion Wayne, dance talent including Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Becky Hill, Bru-C, Eliza Rose, Jax Jones and Nathan Dawe, and rock bands and artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Sam Ryder and Tom Grennan.

Fast-emerging UK singer-songwriter, Tom Speight, who has already amassed over 200 million streams globally alongside a Top 40 hit, said:

“It’s such an exciting time to be an artist, with so many ways now to connect with fans around the world thanks largely to streaming and the support of labels in giving artists greater scope to succeed. With a new album out this year, I’m optimistic that streaming will help to make this my breakthrough year.”

Streaming also generated new audiences and revenue for classic hits of the past.

Kate Bush was placed among an end-of-year Official Singles Chart Top 10 for the first time in her long career with Running Up That Hill at No.6 overall after it was heavily featured in the fourth season of the Netflix series Stranger Things.

First released in 1985 when it peaked at No.3, the self-penned, self-produced track topped the Official Singles Chart for three weeks in 2022 and was streamed 124 million times in total last year, 997% more than it managed in 2021.

Running Up That Hill is joined among the Top 40 singles of the year by Tom Odell’s debut single Another Love which, a decade after first being released, returned to the Official Singles Chart Top 20 after building a new audience via Tik Tok.

These successes highlight how streaming combined with record label support is generating new audiences and revenue for tracks, sometimes many years after they were first released.

Kate Bush’s streaming success saw her break an Official Chart record for the longest time taken for a single to reach Number 1 – some 37 years after Running Up That Hill’s first chart appearance. She also became the oldest female artist ever to score a UK Number 1 single thanks to the song’s new-found popularity on streaming platforms.

Kate Bush broke a record for the longest time taken for a single to reach Number 1: 37 years after a song's first chart appearance.

Meanwhile, independent record labels’ share of the UK recorded music market increased for a fifth consecutive year in 2022 to 28.6% (AES). This was up from 26.9% in 2021, while the independent share has grown by nearly a third since 2017 when it stood at 22.1%.

Nine independently released LPs topped the Official Albums Chart during the year by 5 Seconds of Summer, The 1975, Central Cee, Don Broco, Fontaines D.C., Louis Tomlinson, Stereophonics, Wet Leg and The Wombats, while over 60 indie albums reached the Top 10.

Among the most noteworthy indie releases of 2022 was Wet Leg’s self-titled album, which was one of the most successful debut LPs released in the year.

Although it did not reach No.1, Arctic Monkeys’ seventh studio set The Car achieved nearly 120,000 chart-eligible sales in its first week of release in October and became 2022’s biggest new independent album. It was joined in the year’s Top 20 by the group’s 2013 release, AM.

Sales of vinyl LPs grew for the 15th consecutive year in 2022 to 5.5 million units, their highest level since 1990, when…But Seriously by Phil Collins was the year’s biggest-selling studio album, as brand new releases took a greater share of the market.

Eight of the year’s Top 10 titles were released in 2022, led by Taylor Swift’s Midnights, Harry’s House by Harry Styles and Arctic Monkeys’ The Car, which across the year achieved the three highest one-week sales for vinyl LPs this century.

Midnights sold nearly 62,000 vinyl LPs in its first week of release, The Car almost 38,000 and Harry’s House just over 36,000. The LP Top 10 of the year also included 2022 albums by Liam Gallagher (C’mon You Know) and Muse (Will Of The People).

In 2017, just three of the year’s 10 biggest vinyl LPs were released in the year in question with the top sellers dominated by catalogue titles by artists including The Beatles and Pink Floyd.

More than 11 million CDs were sold in the calendar year. Although this was a drop of 19.3% on the previous year, a number of albums sold in significant quantities on the format, led by Midnights by Taylor Swift, Gold Rush Kid by George Ezra and Arctic Monkeys’ The Car.

Sales of cassettes, whilst still a very small part of the market overall, continued to grow in 2022, up 5.2% year-on-year to 195,000 units. The year’s top sellers included Dance Fever by Florence + The Machine, Muse’s Will Of The People and 23 by Central Cee.

Physical formats again dominated the top of the Official Albums Chart, accounting for a majority of chart-eligible sales of the No.1 title in most weeks (38) in 2022, while in 33 weeks physical comprised more than 70% of chart-eligible sales of the week’s top album.

This was led by Don Broco’s Amazing Things (97.7% of chart-eligible sales), Robbie Williams’s XXV (96.9%), Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott’s N.K-Pop (96.3%), Olly Murs’s Marry Me (92.0%) and Yungblud by Yungblud (91.4%) when they reached No.1.

Digital download album sales further declined, down 18.9% year on year but still contributed 3.7 million units to the market.

In a further format shift, rock band Muse became the first artists to top the Official Albums Chart with an album released as an NFT (non-fungible token) as their ninth studio album Will Of The People was released in a limited-edition NFT “digital pressing” in addition to CD, digital, vinyl, cassette and on streaming services.

"It's fantastic to see another year where physical sales are driving albums to the top of the Official Charts,” said Drew Hill, MD Proper Music Group/VP Distribution, Utopia Music.

“With 86% of 2022's No.1 records boasting a majority in physical sales, in their first week at the top, it continues to prove that music fans from across all ages and genres are continuing to desire their favourite music in a tangible form; as something to be cherished and collected as well as played on repeat."

Image via Sony Music.