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Spotify reveals 2020's most-streamed songs

By Mark Savage
BBC music reporter

Published
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image captionBad Bunny, Dua Lipa and Drake had a good year on Spotify

Drake, Bad Bunny, Dua Lipa and The Weeknd are among the most-streamed artists of 2020, according to figures from Spotify.

Drake was the most popular artist in the UK, reclaiming the number one position from Ed Sheeran.

The Weeknd's Blinding Lights was the most-played song in the UK, while Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent was the top album.

And Bad Bunny was the biggest artist globally, amassing 8.3bn streams.

The Puerto Rican star's second album YHLQMDLG notched up 3.3 billion streams, followed by The Weeknd's After Hours and Post Malone's Hollywood's Bleeding (You can read more about Bad Bunny's success at the bottom of this article).

Harry Styles' Fine Line and Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia took fourth and fifth place respectively.

Spotify said the most popular genre of 2020 was pop music - reflecting a rise in happier, uptempo music during the pandemic.

Podcaster Joe Rogan, who signed an exclusive deal with Spotify earlier this year, was responsible for the service's most listened-to podcast. Other popular shows included Rosie and Chris Ramsey's Sh**ged Married Annoyed, and The Times' daily News Briefing.

On Apple podcasts, the most popular show of 2020 was BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, with Louis Theroux's Grounded podcast - also a Radio 4 production - the most listened-to newcomer.

Spotify's music streaming rivals are due to release their end-of-year statistics in the coming week; and the Official Charts will reveal the UK's biggest songs of 2020 at the end of the year.

Most-streamed artists of 2020. .  .
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Who is Bad Bunny?

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image captionBad Bunny is one of Latin pop's most adventurous and innovative musicians

With the UK's resistance to foreign language pop still firmly entrenched, Bad Bunny doesn't feature in the country's list of most-streamed artists - but in the rest of the world, he's a phenomenon.

His music was streamed 8.3 billion times by Spotify's 320 million users this year. His most popular song, Safaera, has been played a staggering 407 million times alone.

Taken from his second album, the track is Bad Bunny's very own Bohemian Rhapsody - moving through eight different beats in multiple movements, and sampling everything from Missy Elliot's Get Ur Freak On to John Williams' Jaws theme.

Rolling Stone magazine called it "five-minutes of unadulterated chaos" that allowed the rapper to pay tribute to the reggaetón artists that preceded him.

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Born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio in 1994, he started singing at the age of five, and recorded his earliest songs while working as a bagger in a grocery store.

He stage name came from a time when he was forced to wear a rabbit costume for his school's Easter celebrations. A photograph from the time shows the musician looking particularly grumpy. "I think that I was six years old," he told E! News. "I was so mad [that] the teacher picked me to dress up".

After picking up attention on Soundcloud, his first chart successes came as a featured artist - most notably on Cardi B's smash hit I Like It, which reached number one in summer 2018.

Political protests

The star's first album, X100 Pre (an abbreviation of Por Siempre, or Forever, in Spanish) followed later that year. Praised for it's "off-kilter creativity", the album unapologetically crushed together elements of reggaetón, trap, Latin hip-hop, garage rock and pop punk - and earned the musician a Grammy nomination for best alternative Latin album.

The eclectic, experimental nature of the record surprised many fans who'd been listening to his more club-orientated hits, but Ocasio said that was the plan all along.

"I was super prepared for that first impact and for people to be confused," he told GQ. "But just as I was prepared, I had a lot of faith that, in the end, people would understand me."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe star (seen here holding a flag) was a figurehead in protests against Puerto Rico's governor last year

But Bad Bunny is just not just fearless musically. He has spoken out against the US government's response to Hurricane Maria; and injustices such as the killings of women and transgender Puerto Ricans.

In February, he used a performance on Jimmy Fallon's US chat show to pay tribute to Alexa Negrón Luciano, a homeless, transgender woman who was murdered in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Taking to the stage in a black skirt, the musician revealed a shirt that read "Mataron a Alexa, no a un hombre con flada" - They killed Alexa, not a man in a skirt".

He was also a major figure in the summer 2019 protests that ended with the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló, even releasing a song, Afilando los Cuchillos (Sharpening the Knives) which accused the politician of corruption, neglect and homophobia.

image copyrightYouTube / Jimmy Fallon
image captionThe star protested against transgender violence on a US TV show

At the age of 26, he is almost indecently prolific. This year alone, he has appeared at the Super Bowl and released three albums - starting with February's YHLQMDLG ( "Yo hago lo que me da la gana", or "I Do Whatever I Want"), which is Spotify's most=streamed album of 2020, with 3.3bn plays so far.

He followed it up with Las Que No Iban a Salir - a selection of off-cuts from the YHLQMDLG sessions; then surprised fans last week with a brand new record.

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The indie-influenced El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo was written and released in response to people who complained the Covid-19 pandemic kept them from partying.

"This is a more sentimental album, more chill, the kind of thing you can listen to in your room," said the star.

It came out in the same week that the star was nominated for two further Grammy Awards - including best Latin Pop album for YHLQMDLG.

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