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20 June 2022

Ed Sheeran Was The UK’s Most Played Artist In 2021

Ed Sheeran 2021 MTV EMAs
Photo: Mark Bourdillon/Alamy Stock Photo
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Ed Sheeran has been named the most-played artist in the UK last year according to new data from music licensing company PPL, which calculates usage by radio stations, TV channels and public locations that play recorded music in order to distribute royalties.

Sheeran also had the most-played track of 2021 with Bad Habits, from his fourth album, =.

There’s a strong showing from UK acts, with Dua Lipa, Coldplay, Tom Grennan and Little Mix all featuring strongly in the annual charts.

Peter Leathem, chief executive officer at PPL, said, “Congratulations to Ed Sheeran for having the UK’s most played track of 2021 and being the UK’s most played artist of 2021.

“His chart-topping success over the last five years is a testament to not only the quality of his output but also the strength of UK music at a time when the global music landscape is more competitive than ever.

“PPL plays a vital role in the UK music ecosystem, collecting royalties when these recordings and hundreds of thousands more are broadcast on TV, radio and played in public, with total revenue of £252.8m in 2021.

“Both the performers on a recording and the recording rightsholders benefit from these royalties, providing an important revenue stream for many in the music industry, from household names to those just starting out.”

PPL charts for 2021

Most-played tracks in the UK

1. Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits
2. Calvin Harris – By Your Side ft Tom Grennan
3. Tom Grennan – Little Bit of Love
4. The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
5. Coldplay – Higher Power
6. Rag’n’Bone Man – All You Ever Wanted
7. Galantis, David Guetta and Little Mix – Heartbreak Anthem
8. Years & Years – Starstruck
9. Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky
10. Joel Corry x Raye x David Guetta – Bed

Most-played artists in the UK

1. Ed Sheeran
2. David Guetta
3. Dua Lipa
4. Little Mix
5. Coldplay
6. The Weeknd
7. Justin Bieber
8. Calvin Harris
9. Taylor Swift
10. Pink

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