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Top 500 most-streamed artists of 2020


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1. Drake - 5.9B

2. Juice Wrld - 5.5B

3. YoungBoy Never Broke Again - 4.7B

[...]

35. The Beatles - 1.8B (WOW!)

60. Lady Gaga - 1.2B

65. Queen - 1.1B

105. Frank Sinatra - 910.2M

122. Michael Jackson - 837.1M

126. Mariah Carey - 812.4M

141. Elton John - 748.5M

154. The Rolling Stones - 728.5M

178. Elvis Presley - 629.5M

291. Britney Spears - 430.8M

313. Whitney Houston - 407.3M

368. U2 - 348.8M

428. Madonna - 296.1M

440. Simon & Garfunkel - 288.6M

497. Backstreet Boys - 258.4M

 

source: https://www.rollingstone.com/charts/artists/year-end/

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So, with many other legacy artists featured prominently on this list, proving they have adapted well to streaming platforms : why the f are her numbers so shockingly low? :Madonna034:

Her whole catalogue is available on all major streaming platforms (except for some EPs/remixes that, quite frankly, only hardcore fans care about) and she's featured on all relevant curated playlists (80s/90s/00s/Pop/Dance Essential etc.) on top positions. And since many of her peers such as Bowie or Prince do better numbers - some even doubling or tripling her streaming figures - we can't really excuse her numbers by saying her demographic target group hasn't adapted to streaming yet, can we? What happened?

 

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Well, Bowie and Prince are dead. Sadly, that always helps. And Prince has had countless legacy releases since he passed away. Madonna's streaming numbers are not excellent but they're not tragic either. It's a combination of her fans being more old school and not consuming her music on streaming, and her legacy not being taken care of until recently. We've talked about it many times but her back catalogue on Spotify and Apple Music is a mess with wrong versions and different volumen betweee

For the biggest selling female artist in the world 428 is utterly appalling. There's no beating around the bush here. Rebel Hearts leak definitely made a big dent in her streaming numbers and sales numbers when streaming was just coming into it's own. I think Rebel Herat was the number 2 most illegal downloaded album of the year from what I remember. Second to this the singles and remixes have been absent for the best part of 15 years from the platform and there have been no re-editions and

Not to dimiss Elton's amazing achievements but let's keep in mind he had less Spotify listeners than Madonna before "Rocketman". His streaming numbers increased exponentially after that movie and the Diamonds compilation is his first platinum-certified album in the U.S since the 2000's. This is why the upcoming Madonna biopic is such a big deal, it has the potential to redefine her legacy for decades to come - let's hope for the best outcome. On-topic, this is an U.S based list, so I'm

Well, Bowie and Prince are dead. Sadly, that always helps. And Prince has had countless legacy releases since he passed away.

Madonna's streaming numbers are not excellent but they're not tragic either. It's a combination of her fans being more old school and not consuming her music on streaming, and her legacy not being taken care of until recently. We've talked about it many times but her back catalogue on Spotify and Apple Music is a mess with wrong versions and different volumen betweeen tracks and all kinds of stuff going on.

Also, her public image in the last few years it's not at its peak, honestly. I'm sure there's a shift coming with Rhino (Warner) finally uploading her back catalogue and hopefully when the biopic is released.

Her legacy hasn't been properly celebrated since the streaming era begun. So let's wait and see.

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Oops I didn't notice this thread beforehand — I may have started a topic on this in the charts section? (sorry!)

I understand that she didn't really release any new music this past year etc., (did the "Levitating" remix even count?) but I find it a bit depressing tbh. Her back catalogue keeps heading deeper into obscurity (yes, I'm aware I'm being a bit dramatic), and it's sad. Just a decade ago M was still ubiquitous in popular culture... now.... nothing. I get it that she's enjoying her life, and that often artists cannot control how their music is received/appreciated by future generations, but this is ridiculous. She has one of the most diverse, fun, creative, bold and just f***ing amazing catalogue sin music history. 

There are things she could do to improve her popularity but as we'v seen, she's really not into that. She seems to be really digging pushing the limits of how unpopular and contrarian she can be. Plus she rarely gives interviews, performs, and when she does perform, she will only do it if there's a huge production backing her... frustrating. Soooo many missed opportinities. And yes, she's been recuperating, but come on, she's been out and about a lot. She just doesn't want to do it. Little Zoom calls with Ellen, Jimmy Fallon or Andy Cohen would've put her out there a bit but she doesn't want to. Alas...

Elton, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Elvis, Bruce Springsteen... All these legends have WAAAY more streams than she does. Madonna, up your game damn it! LOL

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2 hours ago, Blue Jean said:

This should put the fans saying the other day Elton is not that popular back on planet earth....

it's more telling about M's management of her legacy than anything else though, Elton's team have done amazingly regarding that. Elton's streams went from around the same as what Madonna's doing now just a few years ago pre-Biopic and the Rocketman film changed everything for him,  from doing ok to being featured on more than 39M playlists and from having a total of a little over 2B streams overall right after the opening to having 748M this past year alone.

His most streamed song in America back then was Tiny Dancer and now it's Rocketman, something the film also changed

In the UK alone, by year of release his Christmas song  is the most streamed song released in 1973 in that country, and Tiny dancer the most streamed from 1971, Step into Christmas also gets massive streams every xmas season all over Europe mostly

some numbers give a skewed view of his streams like for his album Sleeping with the past, the total streams for that album comprise in almost its entirety from streams of the one song Sacrifice, a similar thing that can be seen on other of his studio albums

not about streams, but also just 2 years ago his team updated a lot of his American music certifications something M has also neglected

all in all the power of his overall catalog is stronger than that of his studio albums ,-some still have terrible stream numbers- (many of which tanked back whenoriginally released btw not only in his strongest markets but WW too) but great marketing can do wonders

M's lack of streams rest entirely on her and her team's laziness and mishandling of her legacy

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2 hours ago, Blue Jean said:

This should put the fans saying the other day Elton is not that popular back on planet earth....

Not to dimiss Elton's amazing achievements but let's keep in mind he had less Spotify listeners than Madonna before "Rocketman".

His streaming numbers increased exponentially after that movie and the Diamonds compilation is his first platinum-certified album in the U.S since the 2000's. This is why the upcoming Madonna biopic is such a big deal, it has the potential to redefine her legacy for decades to come - let's hope for the best outcome.

On-topic, this is an U.S based list, so I'm not really surprised Madonna is not higher. It is what it is but she hasn't had significant support since American Life and she doesn't have a Gen Z classic to keep her catalog afloat ("Thriller" is a Halloween staple, "All I Want..." plays non-stop during Christmas, "Dreams" recently went viral on Tik Tok, etc.).

On a brighter note, her YouTube numbers improved considerably during 2020.

La Isla Bonita - 152M+

Hung Up - 72M+

Like A Prayer - 56M+

4 Minutes - 36M+

Papa Don't Preach - 36M+

Frozen - 33M+ (expected to hit 100M this year)

Vogue (including the VMA performance) - 33M+

Material Girl - 24M+

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  1. Her team isn't doing well job.
  2. Spotify isn't promoting her as much as the other artists you mentioned her (that's her teams fault too)
  3. Most of her fans, unlike the fans of the rest artists you mentioned, have a weird hate for streaming services and refuse to stream her music. Like you're using internet and PC but never want to use Spotify when you're online to listen to music? It's so weird. They don't like new ways of listening to music, but when it's time for leaked music they RAN to share and download it first. Ok.
  4. US isn't her greatest market.
  5. Elton had a movie that boosted his music and Mariah's 50% are christmas music.
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For the biggest selling female artist in the world 428 is utterly appalling.

There's no beating around the bush here. Rebel Hearts leak definitely made a big dent in her streaming numbers and sales numbers when streaming was just coming into it's own. I think Rebel Herat was the number 2 most illegal downloaded album of the year from what I remember. Second to this the singles and remixes have been absent for the best part of 15 years from the platform and there have been no re-editions and very very very few features on other peoples records which i'm sad to say is the way that cross pollination of listeners and playlists happen. She is out of the algorithm loop for recommendations and playlists. 

 

The Biopic will really help IF it's handled correctly. The Bowie Biopic that's out this month will be interesting because I believe it's been slated by the critics already. 

She really should have been making some ltd streaming content only over the last few years to drag old fans to the platforms...and by that I mean not downloadable as well. Every download and sales robs the streaming platforms of additional plays and visibility. Visibility leads to a higher profile, more revenue and a wider new audience who will then buy concert tickets and potentially buy special edition physical products. It's cyclical. 

I think Guy O has become utterly woeful and managing her career. Utterly Utterly woeful. I'm shocked he hasn't been fired. She's become a side huddle for him.

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16 minutes ago, steady75 said:

For the biggest selling female artist in the world 428 is utterly appalling.

There's no beating around the bush here. Rebel Hearts leak definitely made a big dent in her streaming numbers and sales numbers when streaming was just coming into it's own. I think Rebel Herat was the number 2 most illegal downloaded album of the year from what I remember. Second to this the singles and remixes have been absent for the best part of 15 years from the platform and there have been no re-editions and very very very few features on other peoples records which i'm sad to say is the way that cross pollination of listeners and playlists happen. She is out of the algorithm loop for recommendations and playlists. 

 

The Biopic will really help IF it's handled correctly. The Bowie Biopic that's out this month will be interesting because I believe it's been slated by the critics already. 

She really should have been making some ltd streaming content only over the last few years to drag old fans to the platforms...and by that I mean not downloadable as well. Every download and sales robs the streaming platforms of additional plays and visibility. Visibility leads to a higher profile, more revenue and a wider new audience who will then buy concert tickets and potentially buy special edition physical products. It's cyclical. 

I think Guy O has become utterly woeful and managing her career. Utterly Utterly woeful. I'm shocked he hasn't been fired. She's become a side huddle for him.

I don't think the numbers are low cuz of Rebel Heart or Madame X. Both did well in streaming compared to new releases by her peers the last decade. It's the older catalogues that getting streamed more. The reason her streaming (in US) are low is a combination of her team and fans. Most of her videography was blocked on Youtube for 8 years, her Spotify still a mess with 10 uploads of the same song, many older fans refuse to use streaming etc.

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To be fair, that list only includes numbers from the United States which are greatly influenced by the christmas season, this explains that Frank Sinatra beats Michael Jackson, Mariah has triple the stream of Madonna, etc.

Mariah probably ended up beating Madonna globally, but she doesn't triple M's numbers, not when Madonna generated more streams on spotify and youtube throughout the year (except for the holiday season, of course).

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I don't think Rebel Heart or Madame X are the problem, either. RH is in fact quite well appreciated by younger pop fans. I even insist that it might be one of her finest and catchiest pop records, even if it is a flawed and looong ass album. 

That said, to me, the main problem is Madonna. And perhaps for the past decade, her management and Live Nation contract have been the main issue for everything. The fact that she's practically absent from main pop playlists both on Spotify and Apple Music is absolutely disgraceful. Also, the fact that she still has been unable to really reach out, and create a genuine impact on a new generation is obvious with these numbers. She shouldn't have to rely SO heavily on her hardcore fanbase (who also refuses to stream!) — clearly Elton and MJ don't! Even from a business perspective, these results astonish me. Haven't M and Mr Oseary realised the lack of revenue? The loss of meaningful opportunities? The increased loss of attention and even respect towards Madonna's catalogue over the years? As I said in my previous post, I do understand that an artist cannot control everything, yet there IS a lot that can be done. Madonna is NOT using new technologies to her advantage (only on the satge, and let's not get into that whole mess!) to capture new audiences, to promote her music, to reach out and interact with new generations and people that, overall, she hasn't reached to in YEARS. 

These days I just think she's waay more focused on Malik and her kids than her career, and that's fair, but even if that's the case, there should be a more proactive approach from her management to push her music through different channels. You simply don't hear Madonna's music as much anymore, and even when you do, people don't even realise it's her. That's unfortunately the times we live in : you basically have to put things in people's faces in order to get results. People won't do the research, won't simply just go and discover M's music because she's allegedly a legend... You have to really work/earn that through playlisting, effective social media approaches, targeted tv promo (all of which she lacks, sadly)... and I wish that just for the sake of monies and revenues she could just fake it & be approachable and fun for once! — The savvy unapologetic business woman has been asleep for way too long. Do it for the kids in Malawi, M, if that's what gets you going! lol

Edited by madfan13_86
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Rebel Heart is genuinely brilliant. Bloated yes but after the leak of the Avicci Heart demo and then the first six tracks of the album released on iTunes I genuinely thought fuck me she's back. Hearing those first six songs on the album gave me the feels of listening to her best albums for the first time. The quality was just there the ambition. the production, the messages the attitude, the front cover artwork. I was floored. Some of those tracks haven't stayed with me as long as I'd have liked but she really knocked it out of the park and I think had they gone with Avicci Heart as lead she'd have had a genuine hit and the album would have sold shit loads. Honestly fuck that guy who leaked it because he's an absolute arsehole who is probably partly responsible for her commercial decline. He took the wind right out of her sails at a time that was so critical to the next portion of her career. Imagine working on what equates to a triple album all songs considered and having the lot leak. Arsehole. Madame X saw her retreating into herself and so much seems to have changed in the last five years. It seemed to just deflate her. ...but I digress, Rebel Heart is a brilliant brilliant album up there with her best.

 

Also God knows why there were only three singles on an album of 25 songs. There should have been 8.

1. Living For Love

2. Ghosstown

3. Bitch Im Madonna

4. Devil Pray

5. Rebel Heart

6. Body Shop

7. Iconic

8. Joan Of Arc

 

 

a fucking era!!!

 

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2 hours ago, steady75 said:

Maybe but what about MJ? What anniversary or good news goodwill project did he have this year? If anything he's been blacklisted on spotify block lists and even venues and organisations won't play him. 

They are different cases, MJ has a very large fan base and, most importantly, much of them are young.

I think the problem is the lack of interest of the new generations and we cannot say that she has not tried to get closer to them, she collaborated with trending artists on singles, albums, performances, tours, etc that should have done something if new generations were interested in her.

I remember that when Maluma album where Madonna collaborated was released, I followed their streams to see how positioned with respect to the other songs on the album, I never expected it to be the most streamed song but I remember that it was sad when I saw that it was one of the songs that less streams had received, I mean if I was fan of an artist and he collaborated with Madonna, it would catch my attention and I would want to know how it sounds at least.
I don't know if something different happened with her collaboration with Quavo and Cardi B.

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Btw, I'm assuming this list is for America only? Because M got over 700M streams WW last year (as a lead artist only)  and on Spotify only - no other stream services included- 

Also, other than at Xmas time and the months close to it, Madonna outstreamed Mariah rather consistently all year round

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Currently she’s 218 in streaming according to one website. Which is good compared to other artists that are way down there. I believe what I was seeing was based on Rebel Heart (album) charting in a dozen European countries and Hung Up and 4 Minutes charting as well in a handful of those countries. If her songs get into the right playlists, then she get streams whether people are paying attention that it’s her or not. 

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2 minutes ago, Régine Filange said:

wdym MJ isn't blacklisted? he's well promoted on Spotify

Many people chose to “mute” his songs after the allegations. This is a function on Spotify.  As some one who employs DJ’s I know many places have a no MJ / R Kelly policy now. Radios also don’t play him like they used to and I can’t imagine he gets playlists much either. 

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36 minutes ago, steady75 said:

Many people chose to “mute” his songs after the allegations. This is a function on Spotify.  As some one who employs DJ’s I know many places have a no MJ / R Kelly policy now. Radios also don’t play him like they used to and I can’t imagine he gets playlists much either. 

nah ppl dont care about the accusations anymore, they always supported MJ when he was problematic for a reason, they wont stop now

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