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The Puerto Rican star beats Taylor Swift and Drake, while Olivia Rodrigo continues meteoric rise as Spotify and Apple Music announce stats
Spotify and Apple Music, the two biggest players in music streaming, have announced the tracks and albums that have been the most popular globally in 2021 (in the period 1 January to 27 November).
For a second year in a row, the most-streamed artist on Spotify is the Puerto Rican vocalist Bad Bunny, whose songs were streamed a total of 9.1bn times, compared with 8.3bn in 2020 – a mark of how the streaming market continues to grow alongside the singer and rapper’s popularity. After releasing two studio albums and a compilation in 2020, Bad Bunny released a series of singles in 2021 including the US Top 10 hit Yonaguni. He is followed by Taylor Swift, Drake, Justin Bieber and BTS in the Top 5 most-streamed artists.
The 18-year-old Californian pop star Olivia Rodrigo had the most-streamed song and album globally on Spotify, following the phenomenal success of her debut album Sour. Little known at the start of the year beyond teen fans of her acting, a series of variously angry and melancholy hits about love and teenage angst made her one of the world’s biggest pop stars – she is the only artist to be nominated in all the “big four” categories at the 2022 Grammy awards.
Her breakup ballad Drivers License topped the Spotify list with 1.1bn streams, and was second to BTS’s Dynamite on Apple Music’s list of most-streamed songs. Rodrigo also appears at No 4 in Spotify’s global list with the pop-punk song Good 4 U, which was the top song in the UK on both Spotify and Apple Music.
Lil Nas X’s Montero (Call Me By Your Name), The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber’s Stay, and Dua Lipa’s Levitating filled out the rest of the Top 5 on Spotify’s global list, while Ariana Grande’s Positions, Pop Smoke’s For the Night and the Weeknd’s Blinding Lights appeared on Apple’s.
Lipa’s 2020 album Future Nostalgia also remained popular this year, and was the second-most streamed album on Spotify, followed by full-lengths from Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Doja Cat.
In the UK, where Bad Bunny’s popularity is considerably lower than elsewhere, Drake is the most-streamed artist on Spotify. Both globally and in the UK, The Joe Rogan Experience was the most popular podcast of the year.