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The streaming age in music has provided the option for anybody who has access to an internet connection to listen to their favorite artists and songs on-demand. This has, in turn, led to today’s artists dropping music at a much quicker frequency than their predecessors had the ability to do. And with streaming services and capabilities growing and advancing every year, the possibilities are truly endless. 

Streaming giants such as Spotify, Apple Music and even YouTube have made it much easier for up-and-coming artists to have an established platform to reach new audiences. However, there is also much more competition for artists in the streaming age. It is no easy feat to dominate the streaming charts, and when you break it down, it’s generally still the big-name artists and familiar faces at the top of the list. 

Here at FanLabel, streaming data is vital to our day-to-day operations, as it is used to score contests within the app. So, we went on a mission to dig a little bit deeper and look into who has had the most streaming success over the years. But we wanted to provide some interesting metrics, more so than just “most-streamed artist of all-time,” so while we will of course include that info, see below for some other fun and informative lists! 

Most-streamed artist of All-Time

Drake is the most-streamed artist of all-time, on both Spotify and Apple Music, according to Ashley King of Digital Music News. Drizzy has garnered more than 23 billion — yes, billion with a “b” — streams on Spotify. Meanwhile, Apple Music (which is only four years old) doesn’t provide metrics, but did list Drake as its most-streamed artist in both 2017 and 2018. 

In 2018, Drake’s “Scorpion” album was the most streamed on the Apple platform, and he also had the two highest-streamed songs with “God’s Plan” and “Nice for What,” while “In My Feelings” came in at No. 4. Ed Sheeran is the second-most streamed artist of All-Time on Spotify. 

Here are the Top 5 Most-Streamed Artists (all-time from Spotify)

  1. Drake, 23 billion 
  2. Ed Sheeran, 16.76 billion
  3. The Weeknd, 16.5 billion 
  4. Rihanna, 12.85 billion 
  5. Eminem, 12.5 billion 

Most-streamed female artists 

You may have noticed that four of the top-five (as are eight of the top-10) artists listed above were males, with Rihanna coming in fourth. However, thanks to powerhouses like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Beyonce (in addition to Ri-Ri), and breakout stars like Billie Eilish, the future is indeed female. Again, Apple Music doesn’t publicly share numbers, but Grande is thought to be the only female artist to cross three billion streams on Apple Music, while Swift and Rihanna are said to be over two billion streams, each.  

Apple Music’s All-Time Female Artists Rankings:  

  1. Ariana Grande 
  2. Taylor Swift 
  3. Rihanna
  4. Beyonce 
  5. Nicki Minaj 
  6. Cardi B 
  7. Adele 
  8. Sia 
  9. Lady Gaga 
  10. Halsey 

While those are all-time rankings from Apple, who is trending in 2019? Earlier this year, while celebrating International Women’s Day, Spotify released rankings from the first quarter of the 2019 calendar year.  

Spotify’s Early 2019 (January-March) Top Female Streamers: 

  1. Ariana Grande 
  2. Billie Eilish 
  3. Lady Gaga 
  4. Halsey 
  5. Dua Lipa 
  6. Taylor Swift 
  7. Rihanna 
  8. Cardi B 
  9. Selena Gomez 
  10. Nicki Minaj 

What are the Most-Watched YouTube Music Videos Of All-Time?

Referring back to the aforementioned Digital Music News article, here are the top five music videos, in terms of views, on YouTube:  

  1. Luis Fonsi — “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee): 6.2 billion views
  2. Ed Sheeran — “Shape of You’”: 4.2 billion views
  3. Wiz Khalifa — “See You Again” (feat. Charlie Puth): 4.1 billion views
  4. Mark Ronson — “Uptown Funk” (featuring Bruno Mars): 3.5 billion views
  5. Psy — “Gangnam Style”: 3.3 billion views

What about the most-streamed bands or groups? 

At the end of 2018 (data for 2019 has not been reported yet), when Spotify released its Year In Review data, these were the top bands/groups (three or more members) by streams:

  1. Imagine Dragons 
  2. BTS
  3. Maroon 5 
  4. Migos 
  5. Coldplay 

While we’re on the topic, here are some other interesting findings from Spotify’s Year in Review from 2018: 

-The most streamed “Throwback songs” were “Africa” by Toto, “Take On Me” by A-ha and “Billie Jean” By Michael Jackson 

-The top breakout artists were Juice WRLD, Normani and King Princess

-The top rising genre of 2018 was Emo-Rap (think Juice WRLD, XXXTentacion, etc.) 

As we move toward the second half of 2019, it will be interesting to see which of these trends remain the same, which change and which newcomers rise. 

What are the most popular genres? 

Streaming is a rapper/hip-hop artist’s dream.

According to BuzzAngle, hip-hop music accounted for nearly a quarter (24.7 percent) of total music consumption in 2018, which was up from 20.9 percent in 2017. This is a trend that will likely continue in 2019, and is even more likely to rise up even further. 

But how do the other genres stack up worldwide (all numbers are courtesy of the 2018 BuzzAngle Year End Report)? 

Top Six Genres Broken Down by Total On Demand Streams 

  1. Hip-Hop, 25.4 percent 
  2. Pop, 18.5 percent 
  3. Rock, 11.4 percent 
  4. Latin, 11.4 percent 
  5. R&B, 11.3 percent 
  6. Country, 7.4 percent

Top-Three Genres Broken Down by Total Music Consumption 

  1. Hip-Hop, 24.7 percent 
  2. Pop, 19 percent
  3. Rock, 12 percent

Interesting Note: While hip-hop dominates the streaming circles, both pop and rock are ahead of the genre in terms of actual sales. The pop and rock genres accounted for 26 percent of all album sales in 2018, while country music made of 13 percent of all album sales. Meanwhile, only 3.7 percent of album sales were from rap/hip-hop. 

What the most popular songs today? 

Here a few different sources, but you’ll notice a lot of the same songs rank highly on each platform. (Data as of July 19, 2019): 

Spotify Top 200 (Global)

  1. “Senorita,” Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, 8.7 million
  2. “I Don’t Care,” Ed Sheeran feat. Justin Bieber, 5.05 million 
  3. “Beautiful People,” Ed Sheeran feat. Khalid, 4.7 million
  4. “Goodbyes” Post Malone feat. Young Thug, 4.3 million
  5. “Bad Guy,” Billie Eilish 3.6 million

Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs (Week of July 12-July 18) 

(Song Units: combined sales and streams number) 

  1. “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X, 133.6K song units 
  2. “Goodbyes,” Post Malone feat. Young Thug, 121.3K song units 
  3. “Senorita,” Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, 117.3K song units 
  4. “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo, 104.9K song units 
  5. “Money In The Grave,” Drake feat. Rick Ross, 99K song units 

iTunes Charts 

  1. “The Git Up,” Blanco Brown 
  2. “Old Town Road (remix),” Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus 
  3.  “Senorita,” Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello
  4. “I Don’t Care,” Ed Sheeran feat. Justin Bieber 
  5. “Bad Guy,” Billie Eilish

Billboard Streaming Songs Chart 

  1. “Old Town Road (remix),” Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus 
  2. “Goodbyes,” Post Malone feat. Young Thug 
  3. “Senorita,” Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello
  4. “Bad Guy,” Billie Eilish 
  5. “Money In The Grave,” Drake feat. Rick Ross

Be sure to look out for these songs, as well as many up-and-coming tracks, in the FanLabel app! And of course, keep up with the FanLabel blog for more insights into gameplay and the music industry as a whole. 

Feature image courtesy of: John Steel/

FanLabel Staff

FanLabel Staff

Enjoy great music and fun contests as you operate your own fantasy record label in the FanLabel app! Pick the songs you think will rise on the contest charts. Compete for the top spot and become a music mogul!