Posthumous popularity drives David Bowie to 1bn Spotify streams


David Bowie has reached a milestone of sorts on Spotify: more than 1bn streams on the platform.

Billboard reported the milestone, noting that ‘Heroes’ is the late star’s most popular track on the streaming service. That’s split between several versions of the song though: the 1999 remastered version has 74.8m Spotify streams, for example, while the 2014 remastered single version has 22.2m.

What remains interesting to us, though, is the relative importance of stars like Bowie to Spotify as a whole. While a billion streams is a decent milestone to have reached, Bowie is currently only the 213th most popular artist in Spotify, with 7.6 million monthly listeners.

Taylor Swift has three times more, then, while top-ranked artist Ed Sheeran has five times more. Of course, the number of global ‘Bowie listeners’ is far higher: think of all the people with their CD, vinyl and download collections that are being played off Spotify, as well as users of other streaming services.

But it’s a reminder of how the rankings shape up on this particular platform, as also shown by some of Bowie’s contemporaries: Led Zeppelin are the 224th biggest artist on Spotify for example, although his ‘Under Pressure’ collaborators Queen are 91st.

Stuart Dredge

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