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2016 Music Round-Up


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This year in music has been turbulent, to say the least.

The world lost many of its heroes in music; David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Rick Parfitt and George Michael, to name just a few.

However, we also welcomed a lot of newcomers to the charts and who knows, maybe they’ll leave such legacies to be remembered in years to come.

Here’s our round-up of the UK’s music consumption in 2016, from most streamed song to most watched video. The musical highlighters and the record breakers.

Disclaimer: you will read ‘Drake’ and ‘Bieber’ several times.


Most Shazamed song

Sia’s timelessly fun track, ‘Cheap Thrills’, tops the chart for most Shazamed song of the year. The top ten includes brooding anthem, ‘7 Years’ by Lukas Graham, Bieber’s bitter but slick ode to an ex, ‘Love Yourself’, and DNCE’s party starter, ‘Cake By The Ocean’.

  1. Sia – ‘Cheap Thrills’
  2. Kungs & Cookin' On 3 Burners – ‘This Girl’
  3. Alan Walker – ‘Faded’
  4. Mike Posner – ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Seeb Remix)’
  5. Twenty One Pilots – ‘Stressed Out’
  6. The Chainsmokers Feat. Daya – ‘Don't Let Me Down’
  7. Lukas Graham – ‘7 Years’
  8. Imany – ‘Don't Be So Shy (Filatov & Karas Remix)’
  9. DNCE – ‘Cake By The Ocean’
  10. Justin Bieber – ‘Love Yourself’


Despite having no singles in the top 10 most Shazamed songs, Drake was this year’s most Shazamed artist.

Check out the full report for most Shazamed in each genre, and to find out more on each artist. Shazam have also put together their annual list of emerging artists for 2017, which features the inescapable Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and Alma.


Most streamed artists on Spotify

Drake isn’t only this year’s most streamed artist, but he is now the most streamed artist of all time. An impressive feat, and no doubt for him an emotional one.

Climbing with over 4.7 billion streams, more than doubling his 1.8 billion from last year, thanks to his album ‘Views’ and chart dominating singles.

And maybe his on/off relationship with Rihanna.


Most streamed tracks on Spotify

Drake unsurprisingly dominates this year’s streaming round-ups as this year’s most streamed artist in the UK. His track ‘One Dance (feat. WizKid and Kyla) was the most streamed in the UK this year, and most streamed track ever on the platform.

It also became the longest-running UK no.1 single in 22 years with fifteen weeks at number one!

Closely followed by powerhouse Sia with ‘Cheap Thrills’, the list sees further nods toward Mike Posner’s ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza’ and Danish newcomers, Lukas Graham.

1.       Drake – ‘One Dance (feat. WizKid and Kyla)’

2.       Sia – ‘Cheap Thrills’

3.       Mike Posner – ‘I Took A Pill in Ibiza - Seeb Remix’

4.       Lukas Graham – ‘7 Years’

5.       Calvin Harris – ‘This Is What You Came For’ 


Most listened to artists on Spotify

In the UK it appears we have quite the taste for Drake and Justin Bieber as they dominate the most listened to artists of 2016.

Joined by Kanye West and Coldplay, Rihanna is the only female in the overall top five.

As the top streamed female, she leads the way for Sia, Adele, Ariana Grande and Beyoncé. Whilst the males are joined by Twenty One Pilots to complete their top five.


Most streamed albums on Spotify UK

Following on from our most streamed artists, their albums dominate the top spots for most streamed albums on Spotify. The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind The Madness comes in at five.

1.       Drake –  Views

2.       Justin Bieber – Purpose

3.       Rihanna – ANTI

4.       Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface

5.       The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness


UK most-viewed videos on VEVO

Bieber’s video for ‘Sorry’ tops VEVO’s UK most-viewed video of 2016 list with over eighty seven million views.

Another Bieber video, for ‘Love Yourself’, finds itself in third place, sandwiching Fifth Harmony’s ‘Work From Home’. Yet another, ‘What Do You Mean?’ comes in at number eight.

Also in the top ten is Adele’s meme-d, old school visuals for ‘Hello’ and ZAYN’s controversially saucy debut with ‘PILLOWTALK’.

1.       Justin Bieber – ‘Sorry’ (PURPOSE : The Movement) – 87,152,761

2.       Fifth Harmony – ‘Work from Home’ – 68,826,339

3.       Justin Bieber – ‘Love Yourself’ (PURPOSE : The Movement) – 65,616,618

4.       Adele – ‘Hello’ – 50,894,044

5.       The Chainsmokers – ‘Closer (Lyric)’ – 50,583,787

6.       Mike Posner – ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Seeb Remix) (Explicit)’ – 49,306,678

7.       Calvin Harris – ‘This Is What You Came For (Official Video)’ – 46,417,510

8.       Justin Bieber – ‘What Do You Mean?’ – 45,442,430

9.       Shawn Mendes – ‘Stitches (Official Video)’ – 44,603,140

          ZAYN – ‘PILLOWTALK’ – 42,939,753

Best-selling on iTunes/most-streamed on Apple Music

Oh, the download. Apologies for the recent abandonment.

Combining iTunes downloads and Apple Music streams, Drake fans ensured that his album, Views, made its way to the top of iTunes end-of-year list after debuting with Apple Music’s Beats Radio 1. His single ‘One Dance’ also topped the singles chart.

Rihanna held the No.2 spot with her album Anti, beating Adele’s 25 and Frank Ocean’s Apple debuted Blonde. Purpose by Justin Bieber rounded the top five.

Justin Timberlake’s single ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ found a place at No.2 for Apple user’s song of the year, followed by ‘Work’ by Rihanna. Flo Rida’s ‘My House’ came in at four and ‘7 Years’ by Lukas Graham at five.


Biggest selling albums on physical

Despite being released last year, Adele’s 25 is 2016’s most bought album, in physical and digital sales combined. Well, it is the fastest selling album of all time and spent a consecutive eight weeks at number one. Similarly, Justin Bieber’s 2015-released Purpose takes second place with 413,000 combined sales. The late David Bowie’s Blackstar comes in third.


Highest-selling debut album

Stockport’s finest, Blossoms, took the reign of having the highest-selling debut album with over 65,000 sales.

Their self-titled was released in August and beat the sales of ex One Direction star Zayn Malik and Brit Award winner Jack Garratt.


Record breakers

As mentioned, Drake became the most streamed artist of all time, and broke the record for most consecutive weeks at number one.

For the first time in the history of the singles chart, the top three positions were occupied by the same artist. Justin Bieber. In the chart ending 14 January, he was at number one with ‘Love Yourself’, number two with ‘Sorry’ and number three with ‘What Do You Mean?’.

Following his death, David Bowie matched the late Elvis Presley by having 12 albums simultaneously in the top 40. His album, Best of Bowie became the first album to reach number one on streams alone.

From the grave, Elvis Presley reached number one once more in November with The Wonder Of You, making him the solo artist with the most number one albums.


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