Miley Cyrus, SZA, Taylor Swift Lead as Women Rule U.K. Music Chart

Miley Cyrus, SZA, Taylor Swift Lead as Women Rule U.K. Music Chart

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2023 was the year of the woman in the U.K. music business. Women artists spent the most weeks at No.1 on the Official Singles Chart in a calendar year since the countdown launched in 1952, according to analysis of Official Charts data by BPI, the trade body of the U.K. recorded music industry.

Led by Miley Cyrus’s 10-week chart-topper “Flowers,” the year’s biggest hit with 198 million streams, women spent 31 weeks at No.1 on the chart in 2023, their longest chart-topping run in a calendar year since the countdown launched in 1952. Based on combined streaming and sales activity, four of 2023’s five biggest tracks and seven of the year’s Top 10 were by women, with Cyrus joined by hits from fellow U.S. stars SZA (“Kill Bill”) and Taylor Swift (“Anti-Hero”), Cameroonian-American singer Libianca (“People”) and the U.K.’s Ellie Goulding (“Miracle with Calvin Harris”), PinkPantheress (“Boy’s A Liar”) and RAYE (“Escapism” ft 070 Shake).

In addition, 48.5% of the tracks that reached the Top 10 of the weekly Official Singles Chart in 2023 were by women, either solo or in collaboration with other artists.

The Weeknd’s retrospective “The Highlights” was the year’s top album, while Swift’s “Midnights” placed second. Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” was the year’s third biggest album. Elton John’s “Diamonds,” which was first released in 2017, was fourth and Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House” fifth.

The “Barbie” album soundtrack was the year’s top compilation and included hits by Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice ft Aqua.

“Flowers” was one of 11 tracks to score more than 100 million audio and video streams in the U.K. in 2023, alongside hits by Dave & Central Cee (“Sprinter”), RAYE ft 070 Shake (“Escapism”), Rema (“Calm Down”), Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding (“Miracle), SZA (“Kill Bill”), PinkPantheress (“Boy’s A Liar”), Taylor Swift (“Anti-Hero”), Libianca (“People”), Harry Styles (“As It Was”) and Miguel (“Sure Thing”).

A record 2,519 tracks accumulated at least 10 million audio and video streams in the year, compared to 1,136 tracks having reached the mark in 2018.

U.K. successes among the year’s Top 100 singles included Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Sam Smith, Anne-Marie, Ella Henderson, Kenya Grace, Lewis Capaldi, Mimi Webb, D-Block Europe, J Hus, Strandz, Jorja Smith, Becky Hill, Chase & Status, Eliza Rose, Rudimental, Switch Disco and Venbee. Wham’s classic “Last Christmas” finished in the year’s Top 20 having topped the Christmas Official Singles Chart for the first time. The year also The Beatles return to the top of the Official Singles Chart for the first time since 1969 with “Now and Then,” created from a John Lennon demo from the 1970s and billed as the group’s last ever song.

U.K. recorded music consumption in 2023 rose by 10% to 182.8 million albums, the ninth consecutive annual rise. The audio streaming market hit 179.6 billion streams, nearly double the total achieved in 2018. Vinyl LP sales grew at their fastest rate this decade with an 11.8% rise to 6.1 million units, their highest in more than 30 years. The decline in CD slowed, and some 100,000 cassettes were purchased.

Jo Twist, BPI chief executive, said: “Whilst work continues towards achieving full representation for women across the music industry, 2023 has been a brilliant year for women in the Official Charts. There is a more diverse range of recording artists than ever achieving great success with the backing of their labels. Women spent more weeks at No.1 on the Official Singles Chart than in any previous year, while seven of the ten biggest tracks were by women. This should be celebrated, but without complacency, and our work in the music industry continues to ensure that this becomes the norm.”

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