ed sheeran is the most played artist in the uk for the seventh time in nine years

Ed Sheeran has been named the most played artist of 2023, winning the accolade for the seventh time in nine years, PPL has revealed. It’s the second time Ed has clocked up three consecutive years as the most played act across UK radio, TV and in public places.  

PPL licenses the use of recorded music on radio, TV and in public places such as shops, bars, restaurants, gyms, offices and warehouses in the UK and receives extensive airplay reporting from such broadcasters and public performance venues.

We used this information to distribute revenue to close to 165,000 performers and recording rightsholders when their music was played publicly and broadcast in 2023. PPL’s Most Played charts are published annually, and this exclusive data set provides a uniquely comprehensive picture of the most popular artists and songs broadcast on radio and TV and played in public places across the UK in any given year. 

Ed previously scored a hat-trick between 2017 and 2019, with fellow Warner Music artist Dua Lipa bringing his fantastic run to a close in 2020. Dua Lipa was the third most played artist in the UK in 2023, propelled by the success of ‘Dance The Night’ from the Barbie soundtrack.

Taylor Swift jumped from number ten to two in 2023, matching her previous high in 2015. With the Eras tour having landed in the UK this month, it will be all to play for in 2024. 

Ed Sheeran said: “Thank you for naming me the most played artist for last year. Thank you to my team, not just for me, but for all the other artists you work with – I’m happy that you get this recognition.” 

Coldplay is the only group in the Top 10 and, alongside Ed Sheeran and Calvin Harris, has also been the most consistent presence annually in the chart appearing nine times in the last decade.

British music continues to dominate with seven out of ten of the most played artists in 2023 being from the UK. Tom Grennan is the newest UK musician to enter the countdown at number eight, jumping from 17 in 2022.

And finally, Madonna makes a return to the Top 10, following the launch of the Celebration greatest hits world tour in London last autumn. 

Most Played Artists in 2023

  • Ed Sheeran

  • Taylor Swift The Albatross

    Taylor Swift

  • Dua Lipa Radical Optimism

    Dua Lipa

  • Calvin Harris by Conor McDonnell

    Calvin Harris

  • David Guetta

  • Elton John by Sean Thomas

    Elton John

  • Coldplay

  • Tom Grennan by Ashley Verse

    Tom Grennan

  • Harry Styles by Lillie Eiger

    Harry Styles

  • Madonna by Ricardo Gomes


Everybody loves Flowers 

Miley Cyrus makes her debut at number 12 in the Most Played Artist chart but steals the midsummer crown with ‘Flowers’ being named the most played song of 2023. As the lead single from her album Endless Summer Vacation, the global smash hit has already topped the sales charts in 37 countries, marking another incredible milestone for Miley. 

Ed Sheeran sits at number two with ‘Eyes Closed’, and Lewis Capaldi is far from forgotten, capturing the number three spot with ‘Forget Me’. His song ‘Pointless’ sits just outside the Top 10 at number 11. It’s not a cruel summer for Swifties who will be happy to see ‘Anti-Hero’ is the fourth most played, and ‘Cruel Summer’ sits at nine. Dua Lipa is dancing the night away at five, and Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding’s ‘Miracle’ takes the sixth spot – the only collaboration in the Top 10.  

P!NK, previously named the most played female artist of the 21st century for National Album Day in 2021, holds steady at seven with ‘Trustfall’. Jonas Brothers’ ‘Waffle House’ takes eighth place and Niall Horan’s ‘Heaven’ is at number ten. 2022’s most played earworm ‘As It Was’ by Harry Styles slides down just outside the Top 10 to number 12. 

Most Played Songs in 2023

  • Miley Cyrus by Noua Unu


    Miley Cyrus

  • Eyes Closed

    Ed Sheeran

  • Forget Me

    Lewis Capaldi

  • Taylor Swift The Albatross


    Taylor Swift

  • Dua Lipa Radical Optimism

    Dance The Night

    Dua Lipa

  • Miracle

    Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding

  • Trustfall


  • Waffle House

    Jonas Brothers

  • Taylor Swift The Albatross

    Cruel Summer

    Taylor Swift

  • Heaven

    Niall Horan

Peter Leathem OBE, CEO of PPL, said: “Congratulations to all artists featured this year and especially Ed and Miley on their respective number ones. These exclusive charts provide a snapshot of some of the most popular music being played publicly in the UK. As the global music market gets more competitive, it is fantastic to see that seven out of the top ten most played acts are British. The charts highlight the important role broadcasters and businesses of all shapes and sizes play in supporting home-grown talent. Thanks to them, we can do our job ensuring performers and recording rightsholders get paid whenever their music is used in public.” 

The complete Top 20 Most Played charts can be found in PPL’s 2023 Annual Review