Analysis

The Weeknd tops Spotify artists chart with 24m monthly listeners


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The Weeknd is currently the most popular musician on Spotify, with nearly 24m monthly listeners. That puts him ahead of Calvin Harris (19.4m) and Ed Sheeran (19m) on the streaming service.

How do we know? Earlier today, Spotify announced a new feature within artist profiles on its service: About. The tab displays biographies and photos, but also each musician’s number of monthly listeners, and their global rank by that metric.

As soon as we got the new feature this afternoon, we had the obvious urge to try to discover who the top artists were, and how many listeners they have. We’ve ended up with a snapshot of the top 20 artists on Spotify, topped by The Weeknd.

The process of getting that list was fiddly: initially using Spotify’s global top 50 chart, we clicked on artist names to visit their profiles and note down the ones ranked between one and 20.

A lot of clicks and a fair amount of guesswork later, we’d identified the top 20 from The Weeknd’s 24m listeners to 20th-ranked Kanye West’s 13.4m listeners.

Here’s the full list:

  1. The Weeknd (23,972,819 monthly listeners)
  2. Calvin Harris (19,385,281)
  3. Ed Sheeran (19,020,442)
  4. Major Lazer (18,644,843)
  5. Avicii (17,556,994)
  6. Jason Derulo (16,421,327)
  7. Maroon 5 (16,133,024)
  8. Rihanna (15,832,238)
  9. David Guetta (15,767,657)
  10. Kygo (15,684,465)
  11. Wiz Khalifa (15,599,617)
  12. OMI (15,486,162)
  13. Flo Rida (15,401,673)
  14. Skrillex (14,936,261)
  15. Justin Bieber (14,876,316)
  16. Diplo (14,539,224)
  17. One Direction (14,461,940)
  18. Fetty Wap (14,114,919)
  19. Drake (13,658,161)
  20. Kanye West (13,441,205)

The identify of the top 20 won’t come as much of a surprise, and it’s worth noting that since Spotify calculates “monthly listeners” as people who’ve been listening to at least one song by an artist, it’s likely to be skewed towards those with current hits in the charts (and Spotify’s most popular playlists).

In other words, we’re not sure whether we’d say The Weeknd has 24m “fans” on Spotify – this is just people who’ve heard his songs in the last month. 1.7m people have actually followed his profile, which is a better measure of his keener fans at least.

Before you ask, yes, we did check Taylor Swift’s profile too. Although she removed her back catalogue from Spotify in 2014, she still has six tracks available on the service through soundtrack albums. Those tracks were listened to by 1.5m people in the last month.

Stuart Dredge

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