Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK in 2021, and his track Bad Habits was the year’s most-played single.
As according new statistics from music licensing business PPL, Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK last year. PPL analyzes usage by radio stations, TV channels, and public sites that play recorded music in order to award royalties.
In 2021, Sheeran’s Bad Habits was the most-played song. He previously won the PPL double in 2017, when he was the most-played artist of the year and his song Shape of You dominated popular consciousness.
‘Congratulations to Ed Sheeran for having the UK’s most played track of 2021 and being the UK’s most played artist of 2021,’ said Peter Leathem, chief executive of PPL. ‘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.’
This reflects how streaming has provided the greatest hit singles a longer tail than ever before. For instance, The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights, which was the fourth most popular song last year, was actually released in 2019. Its inclusion here adds to a long list of accomplishments: in November 2021, it was listed as the all-time largest Billboard Hot 100 hit.
The full PPL charts for 2021
- Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits
- Calvin Harris – By Your Side ft Tom Grennan
- Tom Grennan – Little Bit of Love
- The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
- Coldplay – Higher Power
- Rag’n’Bone Man – All You Ever Wanted
- Galantis, David Guetta and Little Mix – Heartbreak Anthem
- Years & Years – Starstruck
- Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky
- Joel Corry x Raye x David Guetta – Bed