Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
Having previously looked at the most popular channels on YouTube, it’s time to put Spotify under the microscope.
Which artists and/or bands are the most popular on Spotify? In this article we’ll count down the top 20 artists on Spotify based on follower count.
And at the end of the article, we have our very own shared playlist with a popular track from each of these popular artists. See you on the other side!
20. Selena Gomez
10.5 million followers
Texas-born Selena Gomez started her career as an actress on The Disney Channel. After moving into the music world, she released three albums with her former band, The Scene.
The 25-year-old’s first solo album, Stars Dance, didn’t arrive until 2013. The electropop record debuted at number one in the U.S. charts.
Most Popular Song: It Ain’t Me (735 million plays)
19. Katy Perry
10.6 million followers
Katy Perry made her name in 2008 with I Kissed a Girl, but it was the release of her second album, Teenage Dreams, which turned her into a global pop superstar. Perry co-wrote all 12 dance-pop songs and earned seven Grammy nominations for her efforts.
Her most recent album, Witness, was released in June 2017 to mixed reviews.
Most Popular Song: Dark Horse (530 million plays)
18. Imagine Dragons
10.7 million followers
Pop rock band Imagine Dragons were Billboard’s “Band of the Year” in 2017. Their 2013 hit Radioactive holds the record for the most consecutive weeks in the U.S. chart.
The band’s latest album, Evolve, produced three chart-topping singles: Believer, Thunder, and Whatever It Takes.
Most Popular Song: Thunder (763 million plays)
10.8 million followers
Maluma is the first of two Colombians to make the top 20 list. The reggaetón singer boasts a tenor voice which has earned him widespread popularity throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
In 2014, he was the featured vocalist on Elvis Crespo’s Ole Brazil, a track which was recorded for the soccer World Cup held that summer.
His latest album, F.A.M.E., includes duets with Timbaland, Jason Derulo, and Prince Royce.
Most Popular Song: Felices los 4 (515 million plays)
16. The Weeknd
11.4 million followers
The Weeknd—real name Abel Tesfaye—is the artist behind 2015’s megahit, Can’t Feel My Face.
The song won a host of awards, but perhaps the most surprising recognition was a nomination from Nickelodeon for the Kids’ Choice Awards. Given the adult nature of his lyrics, the nomination was widely criticized by parents.
Most Popular Song: Starboy (999 million plays)
15. Nicki Minaj
11.7 million followers
Since her debut album in 2010, Nicki Minaj has arguably become the most recognizable female hip-hop star in the world. For better or worse.
She has more Billboard 100 entries than any other woman in history and is the only female on Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings list.
Most Popular Song: Swalla (618 million plays)
14. Maroon 5
12.0 million followers
Fronted by The Voice judge Adam Levine, Maroon 5 are one of the most successful bands of the century.
The pop-rock group have released six studio albums and won three Grammys, three American Music Awards, three People’s Choice Awards, and four Billboard Music Awards. Their 2012 hit One More Night was notable for preventing Gangnam Style from reaching number one in the U.S.
Most Popular Song: Sugar (716 million plays)
13. Calvin Harris
12.3 million followers
At number 13 we find Calvin Harris, the first British entry on the list.
Harris can make a strong claim to being the most successful EDM artist of all time. He’s topped Forbes’ list of top-earning DJs for the last five years and has either won or been nominated for a barely believable 143 mainstream awards since his 2007 debut.
Most Popular Song: This Is What You Came For (829 million plays)
12.4 million followers
There are no prizes for guessing the identity of the second Colombian on the list. Shakira started her musical life singing Spanish rock; she had already sold 10 million albums in Latin America during the 1990s before releasing her first English-language album in 2001.
Today, she is the most successful Latin American pop star in the English-speaking world.
Most Popular Song: Chantaje (feat. Maluma) (518 million plays)
13.1 million followers
British band Coldplay are the Marmite of the rock world—they are loved and loathed in equal measure.
Whatever your opinion, the band’s success cannot be questioned. Chris Martin and co. broke onto the scene with Yellow in 2000 and have never looked back. To date, they’ve sold more than 100 million albums, making them one of the best-selling groups of all time.
Most Popular Song: Something Just Like This (867 million plays)
10. Taylor Swift
13.7 million followers
Just making it into the top 10 is country-pop crossover star, Taylor Swift.
Her 2006 single, Our Song, made her the youngest person in history to write and sing a number one hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart—a record she still holds to this day.
Today, Swift is better known for her contemporary sounds. Her first pop album, 1989, was the best-selling album in the United States in 2014.
Most Popular Song: I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (730 million plays)
14.5 million followers
Beyoncé’s entry at number nine is perhaps the first real surprise in this countdown. We thought she would have been a few places higher.
The former Destiny’s Child superstar needs little introduction. Ever since her first solo hit Crazy in Love in 2003, she’s been nearly ever-present at the upper-end of the Billboard charts.
Want a fun Beyoncé fact? Her post announcing her pregnancy in 2017 racked up the most likes on Instagram. It amassed more than 6.3 million likes in its first eight hours.
Most Popular Song: Halo (436 million plays)
8. Bruno Mars
14.7 million followers
Hawaii-born Bruno Mars has had seven number one singles in the U.S. He’s also the only artist to hold the number one and number two slot simultaneously, while Just the Way You Are and Grenade are the most successful digital singles of all time.
But forget all that. He’s also written top 10 hits for Alexandra Burke, Travie McCoy, Adam Levine, Brandy, Sean Kingston, and Flo Rida. Oh, and he can also play the drums, guitar, keyboard, bass, and piano. Talented guy.
Most Popular Song: That’s What I Like (743 million plays)
7. David Guetta
15.0 million followers
The only EDM star who can rival Calvin Harris is Frenchman David Guetta. Known for his laidback style, it took Guetta nine years after his 1992 hit Up and Away to release a second single (Just a Little More Love), and a further three years to release his first album.
Mainstream success arrived in 2009 with the release of One Love. The 15-track album spawned four U.K. number ones and propelled him onto the global scene.
Most Popular Song: Titanium (510 million plays)
16.5 million followers
Ariana Grande started her career on Broadway in 2008. After starring in 13 for two years, she moved to television and played the role of Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon show, Victorious. Her pop career began in 2014 with the release of My Everything. It debuted at number one in the U.S.
Despite her musical successes, Grande is perhaps best-known for tragic reasons. In 2017, she had just finished playing at the Manchester Arena when a suicide bomber killed 22 people in the foyer of the venue.
Her benefit concert—held at Manchester Cricket Ground two weeks after the tragedy—raised more than $23 million for the victims’ families.
Most Popular Song: Side to Side (679 million plays)
18.3 million followers
Hip-hop star Eminem is simultaneously one of the most gifted and most controversial artists of modern times.
He is also the only artist to have eight consecutive albums debut at number one in the United States and has sold more than 220 albums globally.
However, away from his music, he’s been accused of everything from assault to slander. You can make up your own mind.
Most Popular Song: Lose Yourself (566 million plays)
23.2 million followers
Drake has been in the charts for more than a decade but has only been catapulted into megastar status since the release of 2016’s Dancehall-influenced album, Views. It’s now a quadruple-platinum record.
His follow-up, More Life, became Spotify’s most popular opening day album ever, with more than 60 million streams in the first 24 hours. Amazingly, his 2018 Scorpion album broke the record for a second time; it was listened to more than 130 million times in the first 24 hours after release.
Most Popular Song: God’s Plan (904 million plays)
23.8 million followers
Despite the fact that the internet hates Justin Bieber, you thought the Canadian pop strumpet would be number one, didn’t you? Well, he’s only just holding on to his spot in the top three; it would be a surprise if he manages to hold off Drake for much longer.
Interestingly, he’s currently averaging 17.6 million listens per month. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not even enough for a place in the top 80 most streamed artists on the service.
On the flip-side, he’s the first artist in the list to have a song with more than a billion plays, so he deserves kudos for that. In fact, both his top two songs (Sorry and Love Yourself) have in excess of one billion listens.
Most Popular Song: Sorry (1.07 billion plays)
25.1 million followers
Rihanna is the second most popular artist on Spotify. Since her debut in 2005 with Pon de Floor, the Barbadian has churned out a neverending streak of catchy dance-pop hits.
It was 2007’s Umbrella that gave her global fame, but since then, Take a Bow, Disturbia, Only Girl (In the World), S&M, We Found Love, Diamonds, Stay, and Work have all gone on to be among the best-selling singles of all-time.
Most Popular Song: Needed Me (606 million plays)
1. Ed Sheeran
28.5 million followers
Topping the list is English singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.
His vast popularity is all the more impressive considering his relatively short time in the music industry. His debut album didn’t hit shelves until late-2011, and he’s only released three studio albums to date.
With almost twice as many plays as Bieber’s Sorry, Sheeran’s single Shape of You from his third album is comfortably the most played song on Spotify.
Most Popular Song: Shape of You (1.8 billion plays)
The Most Popular Artists Playlist on Spotify
We promised you a playlist, and here it is. It includes the most played song (at the time of writing) from each of the 20 most popular artists on Spotify. It’s easy to share this (and any other) Spotify playlists with other users.
And remember, if these megastars aren’t your cup of tea, we’ve got you covered. There are lots of ways to discover new music on Spotify.