For the first period since the year-end charts were presented more than 50 years ago, British artists have made up the whole of the year’s ten most popular songs in the UK.
Harry Styles’ omnipresence was topping the biggest songs of 2022 in the UK, and Ed Sheeran had two pieces on the list. At the same time, new artists such as south London songwriter Cat Burns and Scottish hop duo LF System patted shoulders with Kate Bush, whose 1985 single Running Up That Hill completed the UK singles diagram for the first time last year behind being featured in the latest series of Netflix drama Stranger Things, having peaked initially at No 3.
Leon Neville, British Phonographic Industry (BPI) ‘s head of analysis and perspicuity, called it “astonishing” that British artists dominate given the global competition created by streaming. “This great achievement is a testament to the rich musical talent that continues to emerge from across the UK’s countries and regions, fuelled by the passion, buy, and skills of UK record labels.”
However, only the dollars by Styles and LF System released in 2022, except Bush’s 80s hit, and the remainder of the Top 10 releases in 2020 and 2021. The graph illustrates the long-tail impact of streaming: Heat Waves by Glass Animals was removed two years ago but ended the US singles chart in early 2022 after a record-breaking 59-week rise to the top.
It also shows the benefits of getting a superstar on a remix. Nigerian pop star Fireboy DML his song Peru in the summer of 2021, found wider success. He cast a version with Ed Sheeran six months later; Burns’ Go steadily grew TikTok from its debut in 2020, which led to a refreshed understanding with Sam Smith removed this summer. All performances of the same song – with newly registered guest verses or remixes – count towards the original’s chart place.
The British singles sweep is only one of the trials written for the UK music scene in 2022 by the BPI. The UK’s historical music consumption has more than tucked in the past five years and grew from 147bn audio streams in 2021 to 159bn in 2022.
More than three bn audio streams were developed each week in 2022 on the middle: Usually, it takes 1.3m streams to break into the UK Top 40 and a mixed 7m audio and video streams to secure a No one single. Last year, 159m albums or equivalent streaming units consumed this year’s figure of 166.1m.
The Top 10 albums of the year dominate old releases and most excellent hits compilations. Only Styles’ Harry’s House, at No 1, and Taylor Swift’s Midnights, at No 3, were removed in 2022.
Ed Sheeran’s =, Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, and the Weeknd and Little Mix’s respective most significant hits collections released in 2021; equivalent older readers from Eminem, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, and Abba filled out the rest of the list.
Consumer right of albums has generally plummeted, with digital downloads down by 18.9% from 2021 and material albums – on CD, vinyl, cassette, and other niche formats – down by 13.1%.
Nevertheless, physical sales continue to produce most No one albums, accounting for 38 out of 52 weeks in 2022. One physical deal counts as one unit to calculate album-equivalent sales from streaming figures. The Official Charts Company carries the 12 most-streamed pieces from one album, down-weighting the top two songs in sequence with the rest – to avoid hit singles skewing an album’s performance – and then splits the total streams by 1,000 on premium, paid-for benefits and 6,000 for free, ad-supported services.
Vinyl decals grew for the 15th year, reaching a high of 5.5m units – the highest since 1990 when the index was topped by Phil Collins’… But Seriously. Unlike in the streaming-dominated singles and overall album charts, eight Top 10 titles departed in 2022, directed by Swift’s Midnights, Styles’ Harry’s House, and Arctic Monkeys The Car.
CD deals resume plummeting, from 14m in 2021 to 11m, a drop of 19.3%. Swift, Arctic Monkeys, and George Ezra’s 2022 album, Gold Rush Kid, sold accurate figures on the form. While cassette deals account for a tiny part of the overall market, the state has continued to grow, up 5.2% to 195,000 units, defeated by Florence + the Machine’s Dance Fever, Muse’s of the People, and west London rapper Central Cee’s 23.