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Ed Sheeran crowned king of the airwaves – again

Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK in 2018 (Ben Birchall/PA)
Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK in 2018 (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK in 2018 – topping the chart for the second year running.

The British musician dominated the airwaves despite not releasing any new music last year.

Sheeran finished ahead of Calvin Harris in second and Little Mix in third, according to music licensing company PPL, which tallies up each play an artist receives from broadcasters and in public places.

The Shape of You hitmaker has held the top spot in three of the last four years – 2015, 2017 and 2018 – and has been in the top five most-played artists five times since his first album was released in 2011.

Little Mix have been in the top five for three years in a row.

Little Mix
Little Mix have appeared in the list multiple times (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The artists contributed to a strong UK showing in the charts, as nine of the top 10 most-played artists were British.

Also making the grade were Rita Ora, Coldplay and Dua Lipa, with P!nk the only non-UK artist featured.

Meanwhile, the most-played song in 2018 was Feel It Still by Portugal The Man – originally released in 2017 – closely followed by These Days by Rudimental, featuring Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen.

Liam Payne and Rita Ora’s For You (Fifty Shades Freed), One Kiss by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, and George Ezra’s Shotgun completed the top five.

P!nk’s What About Us edged in at number 10 – making the list for the second year in a row.

This has only ever been achieved once before, by Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger in 2011 and 2012.

Rita Ora
Rita Ora was among the top ten most-played artists (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Peter Leathem, chief executive at PPL said: “Radio, TV and public performance usage is a significant indicator of the most played music in the country, so PPL is pleased to report a successful 2018 for home-grown UK talent.

“Ed Sheeran again keeps his place as most-played artist, but other performers like Calvin Harris and Little Mix have also held their 2017 top five spots, helping UK music come out on top.”

The data used to compile the chart was supplied by premises with PPL licences including pubs, clubs and shops, as well as TV channels and radio stations.

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