The BPI has revealed the first wave of artists that have been recognised with the new BRIT Billion award.
The award celebrates outstanding achievement in recorded music by surpassing the landmark of one billion career UK streams - as calculated by the Official Charts Company.
The line-up of names includes established global acts ABBA, Coldplay, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, as well as rap stars AJ Tracey and Headie One, plus pop artists and singer-songwriters Anne-Marie, Ellie Goulding, George Ezra, Lewis Capaldi, Raye, Rita Ora and Sam Smith.
The BRIT Billion award represents the first significant upgrade to the certifications programme since April 2018, when it was rebranded from the BPI Awards to the BRIT Certified Awards. BRIT Billion also marks 50 years of the BPI and the 50th anniversary of the certifications programme.
This will be the first time that the certifications scheme officially recognises an artist’s combined success across multiple projects. The one billion career total will include tracks an artist has appeared on either as the principal performer or as a featured artist. More artists who have surpassed the threshold will be announced in due course.
More than 85% of the UK’s recorded music consumption now takes place through streaming, and in 2022 there were a record 160 billion audio streams in the UK in total.
Created for the BPI by Gaudio Awards, the design incorporates the iconic BRITs ‘B’ and an encapsulated BRITs statuette, and each award will be personalised with the recipient artist’s name.
Sophie Jones, BPI chief strategy officer and interim chief executive, said: “For a recording artist, there can be few greater sources of pride than having a platinum or gold disc on their wall, but in an era when success in measured in the hundreds of millions and indeed billions of streams, it was clear that we needed a new and additional way to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievement in recorded music, and I feel certain that having a BRIT Billion Award will become equally prized.”
YolanDa Brown, musician and chair of the BPI, said: “As a musician, nothing gives you a greater thrill than knowing that people are enjoying and connecting with your work. Being streamed in the billions represents a pinnacle of success – underlining the treasured bond that exists between artist and fan – and I congratulate all the inaugural recipient artists and their record labels on being honoured with a BRIT Billion award. I look forward to seeing many more artists achieve this incredible feat in the future.”
Toby Leveson, senior digital content manager, BPI, said: “The certifications scheme has always been a great measure of cultural cut-through, and we’re taking this to the next level with BRIT Billion, as the UK becomes the first country in the world to celebrate streaming success across an artist's entire catalogue. The variety of artists receiving the very first BRIT Billion Awards is a testament to the taste of the British public, from artists with timeless iconic tracks including ABBA, Mariah Carey, and Coldplay, to massive stars of recent years such as Raye, Anne-Marie, and AJ Tracey.”