Many musicians may have an issue with the pitiful amount Spotify pays to license their music, but that hasn’t stopped the public from streaming their favorite artists more than ever before. The company released a year-end list of their most-streamed artists and tracks, and we’ve got the full list, plus three things we learned from it.

1. Taylor Swift isn’t on the list

Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 had the biggest opening week for an album since 2002. Her status as one of the most influential pop acts in the world is unquestioned. Yet Swift does not show up on any of the lists, which seems pretty suspicious given Swift’s very public removal of her catalog from Spotify. (And the company’s laughable attempt to win her back / court favorable press with a “Come Back, Taylor!” playlist.) However, when asked by The Verge if Spotify had intentionally excluded Swift, they denied it.

“The top lists are an accurate reflection of what was listened to this year, there was absolutely no meddling or removing of her from the list,” a spokesperson replied by email. “Taylor simply didn’t make it into the top five.”

2. Eminem is Spotify’s elder statesman

Swift’s newest album was the biggest single-week seller since 2002. The 2002 album that topped it? Eminem’s 2002 smash hit The Eminem Show. Though Marshall Mathers didn’t release an album in 2014, his November 2013 release The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was enough to make him the #2 global artist, the #2 global male artist, and the #1 streamed artist in the US. Along with 41-year-old Pharrell Williams, Eminem is the only artist over 40 to make the chart.

3. U2’s iTunes invasion wasn’t enough

U2’s new album Songs of Innocence took over everyone’s iTunes libraries in September, but the publicity stunt didn’t translate into Spotify streams, even though Songs of Innocence and its deluxe edition are readily available on the service. Perhaps U2’s older fanbase doesn’t use the streaming service as much as its millenial counterparts.

Incidentally, though U2’s music isn’t my cup of tea, Bono’s comments on the state of the music industry in regards to streaming are spot-on, and put him and Swift on the same side of the debate: “The real enemy is not between digital downloads or streaming. The real enemy, the real fight, is between opacity and transparency,” Bono told Reuters. “The music business has historically involved itself in quite considerable deceit.”

As my colleague Ryan Walsh pointed out yesterday, the Spotify streaming model results in pitiful royalties for artists. Marquee acts that regularly sell out stadiums like U2 and Taylor Swift may not feel the pinch, but many smaller artists certainly do. (On the note of album sales, even though the Billboard album charts now factor in streaming sources and digital track sales, even if every single person in the US streamed a record twice, it wouldn’t meet the standard for a gold record.)


For those of you who skipped all of that writing to get to the results, here’s the full list.

Top Five Global Artists

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Coldplay
4. Calvin Harris
5. Katy Perry

Top Five Global Males

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Calvin Harris
4. Avicii
5. David Guetta

Top Five Global Females

1. Katy Perry
2. Ariana Grande
3. Lana Del Rey
4. Beyoncé
5. Lorde

Top Five Global Groups

1. Coldplay
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Maroon 5
4. OneRepublic
5. One Direction

Top Five Global Tracks

1. Happy – From “Despicable Me 2″ – Pharrell Williams
2. Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit
3. Summer – Calvin Harris
4. Dark Horse – Katy Perry
5. All of Me – John Legend

Top Five Global Albums

1. x – Ed Sheeran
2. In The Lonely Hour – Sam Smith
3. The New Classic – Iggy Azalea
4. G I R L – Pharrell Williams
5. My Everything – Ariana Grande

Most streamed artists in the US

1. Eminem
2. Drake
3. Kanye West
4. Lana del Rey
5. Ariana Grande

Most streamed tracks in the US

1. Fancy – Iggy Azalea
2. Dark Horse – Katy Perry
3. Happy – From “Despicable Me 2″ – Pharrell Williams
4. Problem – Ariana Grande
5. All of Me – John Legend

Most streamed albums in the US

1. x – Ed Sheeran
2. The New Classic – Iggy Azalea
3. In The Lonely Hour – Sam Smith
4. Native – OneRepublic
5. My Everything – Ariana Grande

[h/t The Verge]