ed sheeran named the uk’s most played artist for the 4th time in 5 years

Today PPL announces its Most Played Charts of 2019, with Calvin Harris’ track “Giant”, a collaboration with Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, the most played track of the year. The Scottish producer was also the second most played artist, behind Ed Sheeran. It is the fourth time in five years Ed has been named the most played artist in the UK.

PPL’s annual charts are compiled from exclusive music usage and airplay data from radio stations and television channels as well as public performance locations such as pubs, clubs, bars, jukeboxes, and shops all across the UK, showcasing the music that soundtracks our lives.

Over and over

No other artist has matched Ed’s multi-year chart-topping airplay. Indeed, since 2015 there has only been a small selection of acts to appear in the top 10 artists chart four times, alongside Ed. These are: Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Jess Glynne, and Little Mix.

Collaborate and listen

In a 2018 study1, PPL found that the share of radio airplay to tracks that are collaborations between artists had grown four-fold between 2008 and 2017, from 5% to 22%. Collaborations were particularly popular again last year – the top four most played tracks were all multi-artist works, with Tom Walker’s “Just You And I” the first non-collaboration, coming in at #5.

Britain’s got talent

PPL’s Most Played Charts of 2019 also highlight another great year for home grown talent. All of the top five tracks are made by or feature British artists, as do seven of the top 10 – a figure that has remained constant for the past three years2, showing the continued popularity of UK tracks in their home market. It is a similar story in the artist chart – in 2019 four of the top five artists are British, as are eight of the top 10, with comparable British success going back each year to 20153.

The results also reveal a clear path from emerging artist to chart-topping act for British talent. Winners and nominees of the BRIT Awards for Rising Star or Best New Act (previously British Breakthrough Act) since 2010 make up six of the top 10 tracks (Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Tom Walker, Lewis Capaldi, and Mabel) and five of the top 10 artists (Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Jess Glynne, George Ezra, and Rita Ora).

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL said:

“From rising stars to established names, the PPL Most Played Charts for 2019 showcase the songs and artists that soundtracked our year. British music was particularly popular, with Ed Sheeran maintaining his popularity while acts such as Tom Walker and Mabel established themselves on the airwaves. Congratulations to all those featured in our charts as well as the music businesses that invest in and support their success.”

PPL’s Most Played Charts of 2019 are announced today as the company publishes its Annual Review, detailing last year’s financial and operational results. In 2019 PPL collected a total of £271.8 million for performers and recording rightsholders; an increase of £25 million (10%) from 2018. It also distributed money at least once to over 108,000 performers and 11,000 recording rightsholders, the first time that PPL has paid more than 100,000 different performers in a single financial year.

PPL’s Most Played Tracks Chart of 2019

  • Giant

    Calvin Harris & Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

  • Nothing Breaks Like A Heart

    Mark Ronson Feat. Miley Cyrus

  • Dancing With A Stranger

    Sam Smith & Normani

  • I Don’t Care

    Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber

  • Just You And I

    Tom Walker

  • Higher Love

    Kygo & Whitney Houston

  • Sweet But Psycho

    Ava Max

  • Someone You Loved

    Lewis Capaldi

  • Don’t Call Me Up


  • Walk Me Home


PPL’s Most Played Artist Chart of 2019

  • Ed Sheeran

  • Calvin Harris

  • Sam Smith

  • Jess Glynne

  • P!nk

  • George Ezra

  • Rita Ora

  • Little Mix

  • Coldplay

  • Maroon 5

For press queries please email david.cohen@ppluk.com.