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Ed Sheeran was the UK’s most played artist in 2018

By | Published on Monday 10 June 2019

Ed Sheeran

Who was the most played artist across UK radio stations, TV channels, shops and all that in 2018? Go on, guess. Nope. No, not them either. Nah. Oh, no, not even close. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Ha, sorry, I was lying, it was Ed Sheeran all along, your first guess was right. To be fair, the headline on this piece did give that away a bit. It’s OK, we’ll play another game later.

Sheeran came out top in the annual most played top ten complied by record industry collecting society PPL, which has totted up all the figures for UK public plays of tracks last year. And this year Sheeran tops an almost exclusively British list – Pink being the only non-British artist in the top ten. Others joining Sheeran include Calvin Harris, Little Mix, Rita Ora and Coldplay.

But who had the most played track last year? Go on, guess. Nope. No, not them either. Nah. Oh, no, not even close. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Ha, you think I’m going to say it was Ed Sheeran now after all, don’t you? Well, I’m not. Sheeran didn’t even make it into the top ten. While he did top both PPL lists last year, he’s now just become accepted background noise and no one song actually came out as being all that popular.

No, 2018’s most-played track was the heavily synced ‘Feel It Still’ by Portugal The Man. They being a Warner Music signed artist topping a list dominated by Warner and Sony. Universal gets just one track in that list, Liam Payne and Rita Ora’s collaboration for the ’50 Shades Freed’ soundtrack, ‘For You’. Independent label-signed artists? I’ll pretend you didn’t ask that.

“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”, says Peter Leathem, PPL’s top number lover. “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”.

He adds: “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”.

Would you like to see both top tens in order now? No? Well, bad luck, here they are…

Most played artists

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Calvin Harris
3. Little Mix
4. Rita Ora
5. Coldplay
6. Pink
7. Clean Bandit
8. Dua Lipa
9. George Ezra
10. Jess Glynne

Most played tracks

1. Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still
2. Rudimental – These Days (feat Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen)
3. Liam Payne & Rita Ora – For You
4. Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – One Kiss
5. George Ezra – Shotgun
6. Sigma & Paloma Faith – Lullaby
7. Rita Ora – Anywhere
8. David Guetta & Sia – Flames
9. George Ezra – Paradise
10. Pink – What About Us