Ed Sheeran beats Taylor Swift to be named most played artist in UK for 7th time

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has been named the most played artist of 2023.

The Yorkshire-born and Suffolk-raised musician, 33, had topped the list of music used across UK radio, TV and in public places for a seventh time in nine years in a chart compiled by music licensing company PPL.

Sheeran said: “Thank you for naming me the most played artist for 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.”

Taylor Swift performing on stage during her Eras Tour at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh
Taylor Swift performing on stage during her Eras Tour at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

It is the second time Sheeran has been put on the list for three consecutive years following success in 2017 and 2019.

Swift, who is currently playing UK dates with the Eras Tour, jumped from number 10 to two in 2023, matching her previous high in 2015.

Dua Lipa was the third most played artist in the UK in 2023, propelled by the success of Dance The Night from the Barbie soundtrack, accord to PPL.

Landing at number four was Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, fifth was French DJ David Guetta and taking the sixth spot was hitmaker Sir Elton John.

The only band in the top 10 was rock group Coldplay at number seven, while Bedford star Tom Grennan is a new entrant at number eight as former One Direction singer Harry Styles landed at number nine.

Madonna makes a return to the top 10, following the launch of the Celebration greatest hits world tour in London last autumn, and landed with the last placement.

Dua Lipa wearing a black dress at the 2024 Brit Awards
Dua Lipa was third on the list (Ian West/PA)

When it came to the most played song, PPL puts Miley Cyrus’s break-up song Flowers as triumphing over Sheeran’s Eyes Closed at number two and Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi’s Forget Me at number three.

Peter Leathem, chief executive of PPL, said: “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.

“As the global music market gets more competitive, it is fantastic to see that seven out of the top 10 most played acts are British.

“The charts highlight the important role broadcasters and businesses of all shapes and sizes play in supporting home-grown talent. Thanks to them, we can do our job ensuring performers and recording rights holders get paid whenever their music is used in public.”

The chart uses data from PPL licences being issued, which allows the use of recorded music on radio, TV and in public places such as shops, bars, restaurants, gyms, offices and warehouses in the UK. Airplay reporting also comes from such broadcasters and public performance venues.

The full list of most played songs in 2023, according to PPL, is as follows:

1.    Flowers –  Miley Cyrus
2.    Eyes Closed – Ed Sheeran
3.    Forget Me – Lewis Capaldi
4.    Anti-Hero – Taylor Swift
5.    Dance The Night – Dua Lipa
6.    Miracle – Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding
7.    Trustfall – P!nk
8.    Waffle House – Jonas Brothers
9.    Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift
10.  Heaven – Niall Horan