Female artists break singles chart record in 2023

Female artists led the charge in 2023, spending the most weeks at number one in the singles chart since records began in 1952.

For 31 out of 52 weeks, female acts topped the chart as either solo artists or in collaboration with other musicians, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the record industry’s trade association, following analysis by the Official Charts Company.

Miley Cyrus’s viral hit Flowers paved the way by holding on to the top spot for 10 weeks, making it the top single of 2023, based on combined streaming and sales figures.

Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball 2023 – Day Two – O2 Arena – London
London-born Raye’s collaboration with US rapper 070 Shake on Escapism secured the third spot (Ian West/PA)

Dave and Central Cee’s track Sprinter took second place but it was followed by a string of female artists, with seven out of the top 10 featuring female acts.

Within the chart, London-born Raye’s collaboration with US rapper 070 Shake on Escapism secured the third spot and Taylor Swift’s hit Anti-Hero took fourth.

Singer Ellie Goulding’s track Miracle with producer Calvin Harris came in fifth, while US female rapper-singer SZA’s song Kill Bill took seventh.

Bath-born up-and-coming singer PinkPantheress secured eighth with Boy’s A Liar and Cameroonian/American singer Libianca rounded off the top 10 with People.

Overall, 48.5% of the tracks that reached the top 10 of the weekly Official Singles Chart during 2023 featured female acts, either solo or in collaboration with other artists.

It also marked the highest annual share of the top 10 hits this century, according to BPI.

BPI chief executive Dr Jo Twist said: “Whilst work continues towards achieving full representation for women across the music industry, 2023 has been a brilliant year for women in the Official Charts.

“There is a more diverse range of recording artists than ever achieving great success with the backing of their labels.

2023 music review
Taylor Swift’s hit Anti-Hero took fourth place (Doug Peters/PA)

“Women spent more weeks at number one on the Official Singles Chart than in any previous year, while seven of the 10 biggest tracks were by women.

“This should be celebrated, but without complacency, and our work in the music industry continues to ensure that this becomes the norm.”

Streaming continues to dominate the music industry, with it making up 87.7% of the market for 2023.

Across the last 12 months, 179.6 billion audio streams were accumulated, which marked a 12.8% increase on the previous year, according to the BPI analysis.

The increase in streaming prompted the BPI to introduce the Brit Billion award which recognises artists who have achieved more than one billion streams in the UK.

The 88th Academy Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles
Canadian artist The Weeknd’s greatest hits album was 2023’s top album of the year (Ian West/PA)

Nearly 30 artists have received the title, including Ed Sheeran, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Raye, Rita Ora and Sam Smith.

Elsewhere, Canadian artist The Weeknd’s greatest hits album, The Highlights, was 2023’s top album of the year.

Swift followed behind to claim second with her 10th studio album Midnights, while the re-release of her 2014 album 1989 as Taylor’s Version was the third biggest album.

Sir Elton John’s Diamonds, which was first released in 2017, ranked at number four after its sales and streams were boosted by the veteran singer’s farewell tour.

The soundtrack album for the Barbie blockbuster, which included hits by Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, was this year’s top compilation record.

Vinyl sales have also increased for the 16th consecutive year, with a 11.8% rise across the last year bringing the total to 6.1 million units.

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