Ed Sheeran tops radio’s most-played songs of 2018

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The star is due to release an album of collaborations later this year

Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK last year, while Feel It Still by Portugal The Man was 2018’s most-played song.

Sheeran topped the chart despite not releasing new music; and without an entry in the Top 10 most-played tracks, suggesting his entire catalogue of hits remains on rotation on the radio.

It’s the third time in four years that he’s been the UK’s most-played artist.

Calvin Harris came second and Little Mix were third.

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The data was compiled by music royalty body PPL, which monitors the music played on TV and radio; and in pubs and clubs.

It illustrates how some songs achieve a long after-life on radio, months after they stop jostling for position in the official Top 40.

Portugal The Man’s feel-good hit Feel It Still was originally released in 2017; but still garnered enough plays to become the biggest radio hit of the year.

Meanwhile Pink’s What About Us made the top 10 for a second year in a row – a feat that has only ever been achieved once before, by Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger in 2011 and 2012.

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George Ezra made his first appearance in the chart, with the singles Paradise and Shotgun both making an appearance; while Rita Ora, the year’s most-played female artist, also had two songs in the top 10 – For You and Anywhere.

Jess Glynne maintained her run of airplay hits, with These Days named the year’s second-biggest song.

The star, who’s currently supporting the Spice Girls on tour, has appeared in the top 10 most-played tracks in four of the last five years.

Her success has also contributed to a new milestone for the charts: 2018 was the first time that the majority of most-played acts were, or featured, women.

The PPL said nine of the top 10 most-played artists were British, with Pink being the exception.

The charts were revealed ahead of at its AGM, where the society is due to announce that it collected £246.8 million on behalf of 105,192 performers and rights holders over the last year.

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