Ed Sheeran Is the Most Played Artist in the UK for the Seventh Time in Nine Years, PPL Data Reveals

who is the most played artist in the UK
  • Save

who is the most played artist in the UK
  • Save
Photo Credit: Ed Sheeran’s Instagram

Ed Sheeran is the most played artist in the UK for the seventh time in nine years, clocking three consecutive years for the second time, PPL reveals.

British copyright collective PPL, which licenses the use of recorded music across radio, TV, and public spaces in the UK, has revealed that Ed Sheeran is the most played artist of 2023 — achieving the feat for the seventh time in nine years. It’s also the second time Sheeran has racked up three consecutive years as the most played act in the UK.

“Thank you for naming me the most played artist for last year,” said Sheeran in a statement to PPL. “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.”

Dua Lipa, a fellow Warner Music artist who dethroned Sheeran in 2020, was the third most played artist in the UK in 2023. Her success last year was due in part to her hit “Dance the Night” from the Barbie film soundtrack.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift made a leap from number ten to two in 2023, tying her previous high in 2015. Her numbers for 2024 are expected to see an upward trajectory in the region since her Eras Tour touched down in the UK earlier this month.

Coldplay, the only group in the Top 10, has been the most consistent annual presence in the chart alongside Sheeran and Calvin Harris over the last decade, having appeared nine times. Interestingly, Madonna made her return to the Top 10 in 2023 following the launch of her Celebration greatest hits world tour in London last fall.

British artists continue to rule the chart with seven out of ten of the most played artists last year being from the UK. The latest musician on the list, Tom Grennan, came in at number eight, up from 17 in 2022.

Despite his star power on the chart, Sheeran only clocked the number two spot for the most played song in 2023 with his hit “Eyes Closed.” American artist Miley Cyrus took the crown in that category for her hit “Flowers,” as she makes her debut at number 12 in the Most Player Artist chart.

Lewis Capaldi took the number three spot with “Forget Me,” while his track “Pointless” sits just outside the Top 10 at number 11. The rest of the Top 10 is filled out by Swift’s “Anti-Hero” at number four, “Cruel Summer” at number nine, with Dua Lipa at number five, Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding’s “Miracle” in the sixth spot, Pink’s “Trustfall” at seven, “Waffle House” by Jonas Brothers at number eight, and Niall Horan’s “Heaven” in spot 10.

Harry Styles, whose hit “As It Was” was 2022’s most played track, just missed the Top 10 last year, sitting at number 12.