Spotify has unveiled the rankings for the most streamed music of 2021, and unlike previous years, a distinctly sombre tune has taken the top spot this year.
Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” was 2021’s most-streamed song on Spotify, clocking up more than 1.1 billion streams globally since January, Spotify announced on Wednesday as part of its annual review of international listening trends.
With melancholy lyrics and a low-key video of the US singer-songwriter driving around in the dark on her own, the unrequited love song marks something of a U-turn from the viral dance challenge that was 2020’s global favourite.
Last year, as numerous countries went into lockdown, a social media craze saw countless reluctant parents being dragged onto kitchen dance floors by toe-tapping and dabbing teens for a 15-second dance synchronized to the punchy, 1980s-style synths of The Weekend’s “Blinding Lights.”
This year, Spotify’s most-listened-to song had listeners gazing inwards to lyrics that reflect a longing to be with the people we love.
“Today, I drove through the suburbs, crying ’cause you weren’t around,” goes one line of the song, released in January as many countries battled yet another wave of coronavirus infections.
“If 2020 was the year that flipped the world on its head, 2021 was the year that we got used to seeing things upside down,” Spotify said, offering some analysis of this year’s shifting music landscape.
The list of 2021’s global top artists meanwhile features reggaeton, K-pop, hip-hop and regular pop: Puerto Rican Reggaeton star Bad Bunny takes the prize as Spotify’s most-streamed artist, with over 9.1 billion streams in 2021, and that’s without even releasing a new album this year.
Bad Bunny is followed by Taylor Swift, who has been re-releasing new versions of her earlier works, K-pop group BTW, Drake and Justin Bieber.
The most streamed songs of 2021 on Spotify:
1. “drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo
2. “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X
3. “STAY (with Justin Bieber)” by The Kid LAROI
4. “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo
5. “Levitating (feat. DaBaby)” by Dua Lipa
The most streamed artists of 2021 on Spotify:
1. Bad Bunny
2. Taylor Swift
5. Justin Bieber.