Image Credit: ITVX

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has been named the most-played artist of 2023 in the UK, marking the seventh time in nine years he has topped the chart.

The accolade, awarded by music licensing company PPL, reflects Sheeran’s innate ability to write relatable music for the masses and his continued dominance across UK radio, TV, and public venues.

At 33, Sheeran’s career shows no signs of slowing down. His presence on the list for three consecutive years, a feat he previously achieved between 2017 and 2019, demonstrates his enduring popularity across the UK.

In response to the news, Sheeran has expressed gratitude to his team and the broader music community, saying, “Thank you for naming me the most-played artist 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.”

The 2023 chart boasts a strong presence of British talent throughout with seven of the top ten most-played acts hailing from the UK. Notable among these is Taylor Swift, who’s jumped from the tenth spot to second, matching her previous best from 2015.

Dua Lipa, propelled by the success of her song “Dance The Night” from the Barbie soundtrack, secured the third spot. Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, known for his numerous hit collaborations, placed fourth, while French DJ David Guetta came in fifth. Iconic British musician Sir Elton John, who announced his retirement earlier this year, landed in sixth place.

Coldplay, the only band in the top ten, secured the seventh spot while newcomer Tom Grennan made a significant leap by entering the list at number eight. Harry Styles and Madonna rounded out the top ten, with Styles at ninth and Madonna making a notable return to the list at the tenth, following her Celebration Greatest Hits tour.

Meanwhile, accolades for most-played individual songs, Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers” emerged as the most-played song of 2023, surpassing Sheeran’s “Eyes Closed,” which took second place. Lewis Capaldi’s “Forget Me” claimed the third spot, while Swift’s “Anti-Hero” and Lipa’s “Dance The Night” rounded out the top five.

Peter Leathem, chief executive of PPL, commented on the results, saying, “Congratulations to all artists featured this year and especially Ed and Miley on their respective number ones. These exclusive charts provide a snapshot of some of the most popular music being played publicly in the UK.” He emphasized the role of broadcasters and businesses in supporting home-grown talent, noting that their support is crucial in ensuring performers and recording rights holders are compensated whenever their music is used publicly.

PPL’s data is derived from licenses issued for the use of recorded music in public places and airplay reports from broadcasters. This comprehensive approach allows PPL to measure the music landscape across the UK accurately.