Spotify released its annual list of the year’s top tracks, artists, and genres this morning, and, in the words of chief content officer Stefan Blom, “There is no doubt that 2017 was The Year of Ed Sheeran.” Oh, wow.
Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” which is nominated for a Grammy for best solo pop performance, became the most-streamed track in the platform’s history, racking up 1.4 billion streams since its January release. (Out of curiosity, I put that figure into a streaming royalty calculator. About $5.6 million, in case you were wondering!) His March album, Divide (stylized “÷”, which is rude), was streamed 3.1 billion times, making it the top album on Spotify this year.
These figures made Sheeran the top artist on the platform as well, pushing Drake — who topped the list in 2015 and 2016 — down to number two. This was the first year in the top five for runners-up The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, and The Chainsmokers. All five of the global top artists were men, and all five of the platform’s top albums were made by men, which is a little annoying and everyone could have done better. The most-streamed female artist was Rihanna, followed by Taylor Swift — an impressive showing considering that none of her music was available on the platform until June.
Oddly, Spotify found that the “most musical” day of 2017 was Tuesday, June 13th. You could choose to see that as four days after Swift’s music returned to the platform, or you could choose to see it as a nice June day when everyone was working on their barbecue playlists and dreaming of the first official weekend of summer.
For some more pleasant numbers, Spotify also called out the wild year-over-year growth in the hip-hop (74 percent) and Latin (110 percent) genres. Two of the top five songs of the year were Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” unsurprising after the song was named the most-streamed track of all time in July. It was streamed 4.6 billion times across all major platforms, including Spotify and YouTube, taking the record from Justin Bieber’s 2015 single “Sorry.”
Of the year’s top five breakout artists, three were former members of popular group acts — Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello, One Direction’s Harry Styles, and One Direction’s Liam Payne — and two were SoundCloud rappers — Lil Pump and Trippie Redd. In the US specifically, the most popular track of the year was not “Shape of You,” but Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE,” and number two was Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO TOUR Llif3,” a song he originally uploaded to SoundCloud with a typo-riddled title after the phone storing his debut album was stolen at a show.
Sheeran isn’t the most-streamed artist in the US (he’s number four on that list), as that is a designation that still belongs to the generous, benevolent king of memes.