Ed Sheeran beats Taylor Swift as UK's most played artist for seventh time

Ed Sheeran was the most played artist of 2023 for the seventh time in nine years. Credit: PA

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has beaten Taylor Swift as the most played artist of 2023 in the UK.

Homegrown talent dominated the list of the most popular music played in the UK across radio, TV, and in public places in a chart compiled by music licensing company PPL.

Seven out of the top 10 most played acts were British, with Sheeran named as the UK's most played for the seventh time in nine years.

The 33-year-old Yorkshire-born and Suffolk-raised musician 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.”

Swift, currently performing her UK leg of the Eras Tour, jumped from number 10 to two in 2023, matching her previous high in 2015.

Londoner Dua Lipa was the third most played artist in the UK last year, propelled by the success of Dance The Night from the Barbie soundtrack, according to PPL.

At number four was Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, fifth was French DJ David Guetta while pop legend Sir Elton John was at six.

Glastonbury headliners Coldplay, at number seven, were the only band in the top 10.

Bedford star Tom Grennan was a new entrant at number eight while former One Direction singer Harry Styles landed at number nine.

Taylor Swift on stage during her Eras Tour at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

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

The most played song was named by PPL as Miley Cyrus’s break-up song Flowers, taking the top spot over Sheeran’s Eyes Closed at number two. Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi’s Forget Me was at number three.

Peter Leathem, chief executive of PPL, said: “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 10 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 rights holders get paid whenever their music is used in public.”

The chart uses data from PPL licences being issued, which allows the use of recorded music on radio, TV and in public places such as shops, bars, restaurants, gyms, offices and warehouses in the UK. Airplay reporting also comes from such broadcasters and public performance venues.

The full list of most played songs in 2023, according to PPL, is as follows:

1. Flowers – Miley Cyrus

2. Eyes Closed – Ed Sheeran

3. Forget Me – Lewis Capaldi

4. Anti-Hero – Taylor Swift

5. Dance The Night – Dua Lipa

6. Miracle – Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding

7. Trustfall – P!nk

8. Waffle House – Jonas Brothers

9. Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift

10. Heaven – Niall Horan

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