British stars were responsible for all of the UK’s top 10 best-selling singles in 2022, for the first time since year-end charts began over 50 years ago.
Harry Styles’ smash hit As It Was was the biggest-seller, while last year’s number one, Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits, clung on to second place.
Kate Bush’s 1985 single Running Up That Hill, which enjoyed a new lease of life thanks to Stranger Things, came sixth.
Styles also had 2022’s biggest album with his third release, Harry’s House.
Sheeran’s latest album = (Equals) was at number two for a second consecutive year, while Taylor Swift’s Midnights was 2022’s third biggest album – and the biggest-seller on vinyl.
Almost every other album in the top 10 was a greatest hits collection, with perennial favourites by Fleetwood Mac, Elton John and Abba joined by more recent compilations by Little Mix and The Weeknd.
Their dominance reflects the fact that fans are increasingly streaming classic songs instead of new hits.
Recent analysis by the Competition and Markets authority found that 86% of the songs played on services like Spotify and Amazon Music were more than 12 months old, up from 76% in 2017.
From Rosalía to Beyoncé: 2022’s best songs ranked
Harry Styles has the most-streamed song of 2022
The overwhelming presence of “best of” albums is also explained by a quirk (some might say a bug) of the official charts rules.
Under the current system, when a fan streams Abba’s Dancing Queen, it is counted as a partial sale for both the album it comes from, Arrival, and the compilation Abba Gold.
Because Abba Gold contains practically all of the band’s most-popular songs, it will always outsell their studio albums – and most of the year’s new releases, too.
Abba’s greatest hits album received another sales boost after the opening of their virtual ABBA Voyage concerts in London
The best-seller lists were unveiled by the BPI, which represents the UK’s recorded music industry.
It said music consumption had increased for the eighth consecutive year in 2022, with annual audio streaming figures approaching 160 billion for the first time.
However the era of double-digit year-on-year growth in streams appears to be over.
The total number of streams increased by 8.3% in 2022, compared to 21.5% in 2020.
Total audio streams by year. . .
The BPI said it now takes an average of 1.3 million audio streams to break into the Top 40 singles chart, and a combined 7 million audio and video streams to land a UK number one single.
Vinyl sales increased for the 15th year in a row, with 5.5 million record sold, the highest number since 1990, when …But Seriously by Phil Collins was the year’s biggest-seller.
Best-selling vinyl of 2022. . .
However, CDs were still the major format, despite sales falling 19.3% over the last 12 months.
In total, 11.6 million discs were sold, led by Taylor Swift’s Midnights, George Ezra’s Gold Rush Kid and Arctic Monkeys’ The Car.