As the foremost platform of music’s streaming era, Spotify offers a pointed glimpse into the enduring popularity of certain songs and artists. What the data on Spotify streams tells us is that listeners are mostly tuning in to contemporary pop stars of considerable fame and exposure. Familiar names such as Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Drake, and Ariana Grande pop up time and again, with billions upon billions of streams between them. In other words: duh. (As of early last year, considering all streaming music platforms, these were the best-selling artists for digital singles.)
To determine the most streamed songs on Spotify, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from ChartMasters and Spotify itself. Songs were ranked based on total Spotify streams as of early March 2023. Playcounts for remixes of the original songs were included in the streaming totals. Data on Billboard Hot 100 performance is current through March 4, 2023.
While the inclusion of the most famous pop luminaries of the moment on the list is to be expected, what may come as more of a surprise is the inclusion of legacy acts like Queen, who racked up over 2 billion streams with their immortal hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A recent Oscar-winning biopic of the same name surely helped drive those numbers, but it’s also an indisputable classic. (See all the biggest pop hits by Queen.)
Along similar lines, Linkin Park’s 2003 single “Numb” has also stayed the course through time to become one of Spotify’s most streamed songs.
Meanwhile, songs from the last two years are still playing catch-up to their slightly older counterparts. In fact, the hit single “As It Was” by Harry Styles is the only song from 2022 to currently crack the top 50. And the only entry from 2021 is The Kid LAROI’s “STAY,” which presumably received a numbers boost due to the guest appearance of Justin Bieber.
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