2018 is winding down, but on Spotify, the music is playing as loudly as ever. All throughout the year, our users have streamed countless hours of their favorite songs, artists, playlists, and podcasts. Now, we’re looking back to determine the music and audio trends that defined the year.
So, what did the world listen to in 2018?
Music lovers continued with some existing favorites, such as 2015 and 2016’s most-streamed artist, Drake, who took home the crown once again this year. With 8.2 billion streams in 2018 alone, the Canadian rapper is now our most-streamed artist of all time. His album “Scorpion” and song “God’s Plan” took the top slots in their categories—with “God’s Plan” bringing in more than 1 billion streams.
Outside of the reigning favorites, some chart-breaking stars also reached the top. Ariana Grande’s 48 million plus monthly listeners raised her to the position of Spotify’s most-streamed female artist, following in the footsteps of three-time winner Rihanna. She dropped major hits throughout the year, including her fourth album, “Sweetener” and her latest single “thank u, next” (over 220 million streams).
Hip-hop dominated Spotify’s charts in 2018, but Latin music continued its rapid growth. This year, three Latin artists—J Balvin, Ozuna and Bad Bunny—landed on the top-10 most-streamed artists list, while last year, Daddy Yankee was the only Spanish-speaking artist to reach the top 10. Dominican-American singer Cardi B, the third-most-streamed female artist of 2018, and Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello, the fifth-most-streamed, are also representing their Latin heritage through music. The genre is making its mark in playlists, with both ¡Viva Latino! and Baila Reggaeton finishing the year as Spotify’s third-and fourth-most-followed playlists.
In 2018, we also added more podcasts to our growing selection, bringing the total episodes available to almost 7 million. Listeners have enjoyed top podcasts like “The Joe Budden Podcast,” as well as “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” and Spotify’s “Dissect,” which offers a deep-dive analysis of popular music albums. The most popular topics are crime-and-mystery podcasts, such as “My Favorite Murder,” “Crime Junkie,” and “Crimetown.”
Shanon Cook is the Spotify trends expert for TV, radio and online and formerly a CNN music and entertainment reporter. During her career she’s interviewed many of the world’s top entertainers, including Sting, Annie Lennox, Kanye West, Paul Rudd, Heidi Klum, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Claire Danes, Peter Gabriel, R.E.M., Duran Duran, Mariah Carey, Harry Connick Jr. and Yo-Yo Ma. For more than ten years her reports have broadcast worldwide in more than 200 countries on CNN International and in the U.S. on CNN and HLN. Shanon has also contributed to BBC America and Billboard Magazine, writes for CNN.com and has been called on by major labels Warner Bros. Records and Columbia Records to write bios for their bands and artists.
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