Spotify playlists reveal the top performing genres and local artists for 2021

It’s been a mega-year for British and Irish music, with local artists breaking more boundaries and records than ever before. You only have to look at the success of Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran and Adele this year to get an idea of the love that these artists enjoy both at home and abroad.

In a follow up to Wrapped 2021 and for those wanting to get ahead of who to keep an eye on in 2022, Spotify is now revealing some of the top performing genres and artists locally in 2021 – including the most streamed local artists from some of Spotify’s own most popular playlists:


Girls on Top

  • The UK’s biggest playlist, Hot Hits UK, has over 2.8 million listeners and is the ultimate discovery point for the nation’s most popular tracks
  • In 2021, girls are on top with 60% of the top 10 most streamed artists to feature on Hot Hits UK being women artists
  • The Top 10 includes Little Mix, who also became the first girl band to win ‘Best British Group’ at the BRIT Awards earlier this year
  • Following her selection as Spotify EQUAL Artist for July, Becky Hill also makes the top 10 list
  • Other women artists to feature include Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa, RAYE and Mimi Webb
  • Ed Sheeran, KSI, Tom Grennan and Joel Corry make up the rest of the top 10


Drill Dominates 

  • With over 700,000 listeners, Spotify’s blockbuster Who We Be playlist has been a driving force in amplifying Hip Hop UK Rap,, R&B, Afrobeat and Dancehall since its launch five years ago
  • And in 2021, it was Drill that shifted from a rising genre to one of the defining sounds of British music – with UK Drill rappers landing the genre on the map globally and across the music industry
  • One of the artists spearheading the global popularity of Drill is 2021 RADAR artist Central Cee, who has been crowned the most streamed artist to feature on Who We Be in 2021. His late 2020 release Loading is also the most streamed track to feature on Who We Be this year. To celebrate his incredible breakthrough year, Spotify is featuring Central Cee on the cover of Who We Be for the final week of 2021.
  • Another big track from this genre in 2021 – Body (Remix) – has had a huge impact, with multiple artists on the track also appearing in the top 10 Who We Be Artists list – including Tion Wayne, ArrDee and Bugzy Malone
  • Other artists in the Who We Be top 10 include Dave, AJ Tracey, Fredo, Digga D, Aitch and D Block Europe


Breaking through

  • ENNY is the most streamed artist to feature in Our Generation – Spotify’s playlist of emerging artists for young engaged music fans not restricted by genre.
  • The South East London rapper and singer emerged through 2021 with the release of her debut EP ‘Under Twenty Five’.
  • She will be recognised on the cover of Our Generation during the final week of the year
  • RADAR artists PinkPantheress and beabadoobee also feature in the top 10 artists from Our Generation

misfits Unleashed

  • Reflecting an unavoidable and fearless community of artists who have created a new generation of punk youth culture, misfits 2.0 has celebrated the culture and fandom through 2021.
  • Ashnikko is the most streamed artist from the misfits 2.0 world this year, crowning off a year which saw the release of ‘DEMIDEVIL’, her debut mixtape. She will grace the cover of misfits 2.0 for the final week of 2021.
  • Other most-streamed artists from the playlist, which spans punk, hyperpop, rock, metal  hip-hop and beyond include YUNGBLUD, Bring Me The Horizon and Jazmin Bean.


Return of Dance

  • With the return of nightlife and festivals, both Altar, the playlist for the best of alternative electronic music, and Massive Dance Hits, the playlist for the biggest dance tunes, proved popular with audiences
  • Fred Again.. is the most popular Altar artist of the year and his anthem Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing) ft. The Blessed Madonna is the most streamed track. The DJ and producer will grace the cover of Altar to see out 2021.
  • Top 10 most streamed artists from Massive Dance Hits include RAYE, Riton, Becky Hill, Gorgon City and Bad Boy Chiller Crew


Spotify 2021 Wrapped – Top Local Artists by Playlists  


Top 10 UK Artists from Who We Be

Central Cee

Tion Wayne


AJ Tracey



Digga D

Bugzy Malone


D-Block Europe


Top 10 UK Artists from Hot Hits UK

Little Mix


Ed Sheeran

Dua Lipa


Tom Grennan

Joel Corry

Becky Hill


Mimi Webb


Top 10 UK Artists from Massive Dance Hits



Becky Hill

Gorgon City

Bad Boy Chiller Crew

Joel Corry



Nathan Dawe

Bru- C


Top 10 Local Artists from Our Generation




Holly Humberstone


Matilda Mann

Alfie Templemann

Biig Piig


Easy Life


Top 10 Local Artists from The Indie List

Wolf Alice

Sam Fender



The Wombats

Baby Queen

Biig Piig


Jake Bugg

Connie Constance



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