The Guardian newspaper have invited Spotify to do some research, taking the all-time top 20 selling singles (as listed on Wikipedia) and re-ranking them according to the numbers of streams up to the end of February.
There is no crossover between the most-streamed tracks and the bestselling tracks. The most-streamed tracks all come from the past decade, which reflects the promotion those tracks get on Spotify and social media, and that they are consumed by a youth audience. It’s significant that all 20 tracks are pop records; the list reads like a Radio 1 playlist. The figures are probably also affected by the fact that the big beasts of the rock jungle – the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC – avoided streaming for a long time, keeping their music away from the Spotify service.
The all-time bestselling list, when re-ranked by streaming numbers, shows a massive boost for those songs that have become hardy perennials – power ballads and Christmas hits. Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You moves from No 14 on the sales list to No 1 on the streaming list, with nearly twice as many streams as anything else. Nos 2, 3, 4 and 5 are taken up by a run of big ballads from between 20 and 30 years ago.
The all-time top 10 selling singles, re-ranked by streaming numbers
1. (14) Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas Is You (113,898,731 streams)
2. (7) Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You (67,756,710)
3. (13) Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On (50,443,976)
4. (16) Scorpions – Wind of Change (42,975,143)
5. (12) Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It for You (39,287,271)
6. (1) Bing Crosby – White Christmas (35,548,184)
7. (11) John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – You’re the One That I Want (26,673,010)
8. (2) Elton John – Candle in the Wind 1997 (18,838,214)
9. (4) Mungo Jerry – In the Summertime (14,378,863)
10. (20) The Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand (10,455,054)
Spotify’s all-time top 10 most streamed tracks
1. Major Lazer – Lean On
2. Ed Sheeran– Thinking Out Loud
3. Omi – Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn vs Salaam Remix)
4. Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
5. Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk
7. Hozier – Take Me to Church
6. Justin Bieber – Sorry
9. Wiz Khalifa – See You Again (feat Charlie Puth)
8. The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
10. Skrillex – Where Are Ü Now (feat. Justin Bieber)
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