With 2024 well underway, we take a look back at the musical highlights of the year, from chart-topping singles to genre expansion and interesting trends…
Top Song of 2023
The biggest song in the UK in 2023 was Flowers by Miley Cyrus. This was the lead single from Miley's eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation. Flowers spent ten weeks at the top of the charts after its release in January, making it the joint longest-running number-one song of the year. Other impressive stats for Flowers include:
198 million combined audio and video streams
The most streamed song of 2023
The most streamed music video of 2023
1.7 million UK chart units
The most downloaded track of 2023 with 91,000 UK downloads
In its ninth week at number one, Miley claimed her second chart double by topping both the official singles and album charts
The second biggest song of the year was Sprinter by Dave and Central Cee, which also spent ten consecutive weeks at number one in the singles chart. This popular collaboration, released in June, racked up 161 million UK video and audio streams and 1.2 million chart units. Sprinter broke records by seeing the biggest streaming week of any rap song in UK chart history as well as the longest-running rap number one in the UK.
TikTok Chart Influences
Social media heavily influenced chart successes in 2023. TikTok, in particular, has had significant influence over the UK charts as several songs have reached new all-time highs thanks to viral resurgence on the popular video-sharing app. Chart-topping songs that owe their success to TikTok in 2023 include:
Cruel Summer - Taylor Swift
Sure Thing – Miguel
Die for You - The Weekend remix with Ariana Grande
Another Love - Tom Odell
Ceilings - Lizzy McAlpine
Until I Found You – Sanchez
Riptide – Vance Joy
The Resurgence of Vinyl
Vinyl records underwent an extraordinary revival in 2023, with the biggest sales surge since the 1990s. Sales of vinyl records, continuing an upward trend for the 16th successive year. Vinyl sales soared in December 2023 with a quarter of a million vinyl albums sold in the weeks running up to Christmas. The year’s highest-selling vinyl album was 1989 by Taylor Swift.
Genre has become less relevant in 2023, with a broad range of music styles proving to be popular. As we are increasingly exposed to music from around the world, our playlists are becoming more eclectic, and both artists and genres are becoming more fluid.
While conventionally popular music genres like pop, rock and hip-hop are still widely listened to in the UK, world music exposure has seen a rise in popularity for genres like Musica Mexicana, K-pop and afrobeat.
The Rise of Independent Artists
While record labels still dominate chart success, 2023 has seen a continuation in the trend of independent artists achieving success without a record label. Technology is completely changing the game, providing avenues for independent artists to reach their audience directly. This approach appeals to some musicians because it gives them complete creative control over the music they create and distribute and puts them in charge of the business side.
Controversial artist Tom Macdonald, for example, has managed to garner millions of views and subscribers on social media, which has helped his independent music rise to the top of the charts.
In 2023, RAYE achieved her first-ever chart-topping single after she decided to release music as an independent artist. Escapism, a collab with 007 Shake, shifted 1.2 million UK chart units, including 142 million video and audio streams. At the time, RAYE told Official Charts: “We are Number 1 in the UK! It’s the first Number 1 of the year, it’s my first Number 1 in my life. I’m an independent artist, this is sickening! This is proof you should back yourself, no matter what. Thank you, this is mad. These are happy tears!”
As the musical landscape evolves, we look forward to seeing who rises to the top in 2024. Social media looks set to be a dominating influence, with viral resurgences and independent artists. As things become less predictable, music has never been more exciting!