All The Top Streaming Artists On Spotify In 2018 Are Men

Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage.
Spotify has released its stats for 2018, and now we know how what some 191 million people globally listened to on the biggest streaming service in the world: men.
Everyone listened to a lot of men.
That Drake's Scorpion was a huge album this year was never in doubt, but his partnership with Spotify for a full-on Drake takeover of the service on its release cemented his place in streaming history. In 2018, Drake was the most streamed artist both globally as well as in the U.S., with 8.2 billion streams this year alone. "God's Plan" lands at No. 1 on the most streamed songs list and Scorpion takes top honors for most streamed album, both globally and in the U.S.
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The rest of the top five, worldwide and domestically, are men. So are the rest of the top-streamed songs globally and in America. The only place women break into the top 10 are with global streams of Ariana Grande with 3 billion streams this year, which places her at just above one third the streams of the most streamed male artist.
These numbers echo what we learned about representation for women in music in 2017. The Annenberg Inclusion report showed that representation for women in music has been trending down over the last six years. Sure, this was a breakthrough year for Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Ella Mai, and Dua Lipa. Yes, we saw Ariana Grande, Kacey Musgraves, and Carrie Underwood take it to the next level while Taylor Swift and Florence + the Machine dominated stadium and festivals. But they had nothing on Post Malone, Travis Scott, and (a holdover from the top of the 2017 list) Ed Sheeran when it came to people's streaming preferences this year.
More problematically is XXXTentacion, who is the No. 3 most streamed artist worldwide and in the U.S., and whose album ? and single "Sad!" both broke the top five. XXX faced censure by Spotify for a brief time earlier this year, when the company announced a code of conduct for promotion on the service (seemingly as a reaction to the #MeToo movement) that they quickly rolled back. He was shot and killed in June of this year. XXX has gotten placement on some of the top playlists on the service, including their influential Rap Caviar, which has 10.7 million number of followers and is almost always exclusively programmed with tracks by male artists. XXX is accused of aggravated and domestic battery as well as false imprisonment of the mother of his child along with a slew of witness tampering charges, interviews with police that were released this year seem to confirm he admitted to the acts of abuse against his partner, though those charges against him were dropped posthumously.
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The two big takeaways from the music industry based on what we're streaming are that listeners prefer men, and that people feel just fine about listening to music created by abusive men. The former will only continue to foster an atmosphere where artists who are men get record deals and then get worked for promotion at Spotify over their female counterparts because the Spotify audience seems to prefer men. Success on Spotify means more radio plays, more album sales, bigger tours, and potentially awards — all leading to the further marginalization of women artists. The latter serves to impress on women in music and who are fans of music that their safety is less important than the bottom line and that fans are willing to overlook abuse of women if they think the music an artist makes is good enough.
Spotify's data for 2018 had to break out women artists into their own lists to give data on them, and a glimpse into their longer lists show that in the U.S. Cardi B was highest ranking woman as the 11th most streamed artist while Ariana Grande landed at No. 10 to be the highest ranking woman in global streams and No. 14 on the U.S. chart.
If you want to hold yourself accountable for what you listen to, on December 6 Spotify's Wrapped site will let you look at your most streamed tracks in 2018. If you fell into the man trap, you can get started by discovering some of the women artists we recommend every week (and we made a Spotify playlist of them you can follow).
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Below is the full data for the top artists on Spotify in 2018.
Most Streamed Artists - Global
Drake
Post Malone
XXXTENTACION
J Balvin
Ed Sheeran
Most Streamed Women Artists - Global
Ariana GrandeDua Lipa
Cardi B
Taylor Swift
Camila Cabello
Most Streamed Tracks - Global
Drake “God's Plan”
XXXTENTACION “SAD!”
Post Malone (feat. 21 Savage) “rockstar”
Post Malone (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) “Psycho”
Drake “In My Feelings”
Most Streamed Albums - Global
Scorpion by Drake
beerbongs & bentleys by Post Malone
? by XXXTENTACION
Dua Lipa by Dua Lipa
÷ by Ed Sheeran
U.S. Top Artists
Drake
Post Malone
XXXTENTACION
Travis Scott
Khalid
U.S. Top WomenArtists
Cardi B
Ariana Grande
Taylor Swift
Nicki Minaj
Halsey
U.S. Top Songs
Drake "God's Plan"
XXXTENTACION "SAD!"
Post Malone (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) "Psycho"
Juice WRLD "Lucid Dreams"
Drake "Nice For What"
Top U.S. Albums
Scorpion by Drake
beerbongs & bentleys by Post Malone
? by XXXTENTACION
Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B
Stoney by Post Malone
Correction: This story has been udpated with new data that places Ariana Grande in Spotify's global top 10 artists and removes Cardi B from the U.S. top 10.
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