Mr Brightside revealed as UK's most streamed song in Spotify history

Mr Brightside revealed as UK's most streamed song in Spotify history

To mark its 15th anniversary this month, Spotify has revealed the biggest artists and songs during that period in the UK.

Following its launch in October 2008, streaming has gone on to become dominant in terms of music consumption with Spotify as market leader. The Swedish streaming platform was first available on an invite-only basis and became fully accessible to the public in 2009 as both an ad-funded and subscription service.

According to UK data, Mr Brightside by The Killers is the most streamed song on Spotify in the UK during the past 15 years (October 2008 to August 2023). 

The single was first released 20 years ago (September 29, 2003) and has become a true perennial. Two decades since its release, Mr Brightside was No.27 in the biggest singles of the year (Official Charts Company) up to the end of Q3 in 2023.

Although it is not the biggest hit in terms of chart position for The Killers (No.10 on debut in May 2004 – its only week inside the Top 20), Mr Brightside has had incredible staying power with 382 weeks in the Top 100, which is more than seven years. It has spent six weeks in the Top 40 and 130 weeks in the Top 75. 

In 2021, Mr Brightside reached five years (260 non-consecutive weeks) in the Top 100, a record-breaking result which has since been consolidated thanks to consistent streaming consumption.

Mr Brightside (Vertigo/EMI) has chart sales to date of 5,146,333 (Official Charts Company), including 4,083,702 from sales-equivalent streams, 1,040,115 downloads and 22,516 physical copies. It was the lead single from The Killers’ 2004 debut album, Hot Fuss, which peaked at No.1 and has sales to date of 2,460,124. 

Spotify doesn’t reveal the UK-only streams for Mr Brightside, which has a global Spotify streaming count of 1,881,261,446 (as of October 9, 2023). 

According to OCC data, The Killers’ single has 446,450,174 audio streams across all DSPs in the UK. That puts it at No.4 in terms of the most streamed tracks ever in the UK, behind Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved at No.1 (547,203,306 audio streams), Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You at No.2 (539,804,486) and Sheeran’s Perfect at No.3 (475,746,011).

However, the Official Charts Company only began counting streams as part of its charts calculations in June 2014, so Mr Brightside had several years to establish its lead on Spotify. Its main streaming rivals are more recent singles by Capaldi (2018) and Sheeran (2017). 

Speaking to Music Week in late 2017, The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers pondered whether the track would have made as big of a splash had it been released in the current era.

“I just don’t think it would be as certain of a home run as it was,” said Brandon Flowers. “There’s not a home for traditional rock music - guitar, bass, drums and vocals - and I see a lot of people catering to a certain listener to try and get on the radio.

“A lot of rock is getting enthused with hip-hop and urban sentiments, feelings and tones, and so I don’t know that [Mr Brightside] would have been as easily taken into people’s hearts as it was.”

Even six years ago, the power of Mr Brightside on DSPs was undeniable.

“The band talk about Mr Brightside taking a life of its own,” the band’s manager Robert Reynolds, of Reynolds Management, told Music Week at the time. “Mr Brightside has become an anthem for a generation and you kind of surrender a little bit of ownership and let that song do what it does. We’re all happy to have it in the catalogue.” 

Spotify’s 15th anniversary streaming charts

While many of the most streamed Spotify songs of the last 15 years are long-running No.1 singles, there are others tracks – like Mr Brightside – which have earned their place thanks to long-term, consistent consumption over years rather than a high chart placing.

Riptide by Vance Joy is the sixth biggest song in Spotify history in the UK (No.10 chart peak in January 2014 – 3,475,431 sales to date), while Arctic Monkeys’  Do I Wanna Know? didn’t even need to breach the Top 10 of the singles chart to make Spotify’s anniversary rundown at No.7. It peaked at No.11 on the weekly chart in June 2013 and has sales to date of 3,043,054.

Ed Sheeran is the most streamed UK artist globally on Spotify over the last 15 years and he’s the holder of the most streamed UK track globally with Shape of You, ahead of Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved and Glass Animals’ Heat Waves.

According to Spotify’s 15th birthday data drop, Dua Lipa is the most streamed female artist from the UK on Spotify. Two of her songs – Don’t Start Now and New Rules – make the Top 15 tracks by UK artists of all time on the platform. 

Linkin Park’s Shadow Of The Day was the most streamed track on launch day in 2008, while Coldplay became the first UK artist to reach one million monthly streams in January 2009.

Click here to read Music Week’s 2020 cover feature on The Killers.

PHOTO: Anton Corbijn

Spotify Top 15 Artists from the UK by global streams:

1 Ed Sheeran

2 Coldplay

3 Dua Lipa

4 Calvin Harris

5 Queen

6 Sam Smith

7 Harry Styles

8 One Direction

9 Adele

10 The Beatles

11 Arctic Monkeys

12 Elton John

13 Ellie Goulding

14 James Arthur

15 Lewis Capaldi 

The biggest tracks on Spotify by UK artists from the past 15 years by global streams:

1 Ed Sheeran - Shape of You

2 Lewis Capaldi - Someone You Loved

3 Glass Animals - Heat Waves

4 Harry Styles - As It Was

5 Ed Sheeran - Perfect

6 James Arthur - Say You Won't Let Go

7 Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar

8 Dua Lipa - Don’t Start Now

9 Ed Sheeran - Thinking out Loud

10 Ed Sheeran - Photograph

11 Coldplay, The Chainsmokers - Something Just Like This

12 Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody - Remastered 2011

13 Passenger - Let Her Go

14 Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa - One Kiss

15 Dua Lipa - New Rules

The UK's 15 most streamed songs of the past 15 years on Spotify: 

1 The Killers - Mr Brightside

2 Lewis Capaldi - Someone You Loved

3 Ed Sheeran - Shape of You

4 Drake, Kyla, Wizkid - One Dance

5 The Weeknd - Blinding Lights

6 Vance Joy - Riptide

7 Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?

8 James Arthur - Say You Won't Let Go

9 Ed Sheeran - Thinking out Loud

10 21 Savage, Post Malone - Rockstar

11 Hozier - Take Me To Church

12 Burna Boy, Dave - Location

13 Oasis - Wonderwall

14 George Ezra - Shotgun

15 French Montana, Swae Lee - Unforgettable


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