If you haven't read it yet, Spotify released their annual list of the year's top artists, tracks, and genres this morning, and as chief content officer Stefan Blom put it, "There's no doubt that 2017 was the Year of Ed Sheeran
Now this honestly doesn't come as much of a surprise, nor does the rest of the top 5 in most categories. Drake
, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar
and The Chainsmokers round out the top 5 male artists, while the likes of Rihanna
, Taylor Swift
and Selena Gomez took the top spots for female artists. And while it's not like Sheeran was some sort of dark horse contender this year, after all "Shape Of You" has become the most-streamed track of all time on Spotify, I'm still left scratching my head and wondering just who was listening to Ed Sheeran THAT MUCH.
To put it into perspective, hip-hop streams saw a 74 percent increase over the year, yet Ed Sheeran still swept the top artist, song, and album spots. His album Divide
has over 3 BILLION streams. And I'll give him credit, "Shape of You" is a bop, but honestly, it's really only a bop and not a banger.
I'm not trying to rag on Sheeran or his fans, he is after all sitting on a mountain of riches and I never really like to be hipper-than-thou when it comes to people's musical tastes, but I still have to ask—who? And why? Divide
has over 3 billion streams, which is a bit under half the total population of the globe. Spotify has roughly 100 million users, which means that each user listened to Divide
at least 30 times. Factor in that there's a lot of users who don't listen to Ed Sheeran, and you get an even smaller population that is listening to an ungodly amount of Ed Sheeran. Again, I don't want to judge, but who is making Ed Sheeran the literal soundtrack to their every waking moment?
Like I said, "Shape of You", like most of Sheeran's catalogue, is a bop, but not a banger. It's incredible to think that some goofy white guy with an acoustic guitar is outshining some of the most innovative and versatile musicians of our time. And don't get too offended, he really is a goofy white guy with a guitar. "Shape of You" has five other songwriters besides Sheeran, so you know he didn't produce it all by himself, and honestly, did you see his cameo in Game of Thrones
this past season? I audibly groaned and came this close to giving up on the series entirely.
It just seems so strange to me that in a year that gave us DAMN.
, Sheeran's easily-palatable, middle-America-pleasing, top-40 generics stole the show. This is to say nothing of the fact that Sheeran constantly flies under the radar as one of the worst "nice guy" offenders in the world of music. The vast majority of his songs and cringe-inducing lamentations of why nice guys like him can't seem to get the girl, while promising that one day the object of his unrequited love will look back and rue the day she spurned his affections. While he plays up the sensitive, nerdy type on the surface, it's all just an act belying a typical, toxic masculinity that desires to get everything it wants.
I don't know, I'd like to believe this is all one big conspiracy, but it seems like we all got duped by the Ed Sheeran charm ray. Either way, can we make a New Year's resolution that next year we'll all try to catapult someone a little more exciting to the top of the charts?