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Ariana Grande is the Most Popular Artist of the Century Study Reveals

Music is an age-old part of society, but over the past twenty-one years technology has made it more accessible with a variety of artists and genres at our fingertips. With this in mind, were eager to find out the most popular music artists of the 21st century. To do so, data sourced from across the globe, via YouGov rankings, Instagram, Google search volumes, Spotify and YouTube, was normalised and weighted to establish a popularity score out of 1,000 for each of the millennial artists analysed.*

The 10 Most Popular Music Artists of the 21st Century: can reveal that Ariana Grande is the most popular music artist of the century, with a popularity score of 735 out of 1,000.  The newly engaged singer boasts 214 million Instagram followers and over 81 million monthly Spotify streams, the highest across the board.

Ranking second, with a score of 467, is Ed Sheeran who rose to fame in 2011 with his debut single “The A Team”. Sheeran holds the highest number of YouTube views, withover five billion on his single “Shape of You,”and the second highest amount of monthly Spotify listeners (over 55 million).

In third place is Katy Perry, with a popularity score of 449 out of 1,000. With 110 million Instagram followers and overthree billion YouTube views on her 2013 hit‘Roar’,the new mother is a strong contender. 

Beyonce stands as the fourth most popular artist of the century with a score of 418. Queen B is followed by Adele (384), Lady Gaga (376) and Shakira (348), respectively ranking fifth, sixth and seventh.

The 10 Least Popular Music Artists of the 21st Century

RankArtistPopularity Score out of 1,000
3Paloma Faith39
4Olly Murs44
5Billie Piper49
6Lily Allen56
7Spice Girls56
8Tina Turner65
9Kelly Rowland71
10George Ezra74 can reveal that McFly stand as the least popular music artists of the 21st century with a popularity score of just 12 out of 1,000. The boy band, formed in 2003, scored lowest for nearly all factors except search volumes (27 thousand) and Spotify monthly listeners (over one million) respectively contributing seven points and four points to their overall score.

Busted, a British pop punk band, rank as the second least popular with a score of just 16. Busted hold the second lowest YouTube views on their top hit “the year 3000,” with under 13 million views and the second lowest Spotify views (4 million).

Ranking third is Paloma Faith with a score of 39 out of 1,000, followed by Olly Murs in fourth with 44 points.

Text Box:  (PhotoCredit:FeatureflashPhotoAgency/Shutterstock)These two millennial musicians are followed byBillie Piper (49), Lily Allen (56), the Spice Girls (56) and Tina Turner (65), respectively ranking fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.

YouGov Popularity %+1
Instagram Followers+3
Instagram Hashtags+1
Ahrefs Search Volumes+1
Monthly Sportify Listeners+2
YouTube Views+2


(1) Popular millennial music artists sourced from YouGov Popularity Survey alongside their YouGov popularity percentage

(2) Instagram was used to calculate the number of hashtags and followers for each artist. For those without Instagram, the sample average was used

(3)Ahrefs Search Volumes were used to calculate average monthly search volumes for each artist

(4) Spotify Monthly Listeners: number of monthly listeners on Spotify

(5)YouTube Views: Number of YouTube hits for each artist’s most popular song

(6) As the factors have differing units of measurement, this was accounted for by using min-max normalisation to normalise the data. Each category was weighted. The normalised data was added up for each artist to find the final score out of 1000.

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