Spotify has created its first-ever ranking of the most influential artists under the age of 25. The music streamer looked at #1 hits, volume and growth of streams and shares, as well as viral chart success from the past year. Avicii was #1 on the inaugural list with 1 billion streams on Spotify.
At 24, Avicii has broken almost as many records as he’s spun. The Swedish DJ is Spotify’s first artist under 25 to cross the one billion streams threshold, and his unforgettable breakout song “Wake Me Up” is our most played track, with more than 240 million streams globally.
Spotify listeners were early adopters of Lorde’s music, sharing her Grammy-winning song “Royals” and adding it to playlists months before it hit the mainstream charts. Lorde is proving to be as enduring as royalty itself; her follow-up track “Team” is enjoying a hot streak with more than 80 million streams and counting.
3. Miley Cyrus
Her Bangerz tour might have stalled recently due to illness, but Miley’s fan base is as healthy as ever. Our listeners stream her music more than 1.5 million times a day – and we’ve seen a near 50/50 split between genders for her top two Spotify hits “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can’t Stop.”
4. One Direction
One Direction’s music gets more than one million streams globally every day. And while these heartthrobs make young ladies go weak at the knees, nearly half of listeners of their hit song “Story of My Life” are guys.
5. Taylor Swift
Statuesque, red-lipped, but not tight-lipped, Taylor Swift’s lyrics read like a young woman’s diary. And according to our US listeners, it’s a diary worth reading again and again. Whether she’s releasing an album, touring, or plucking her eyebrows, Taylor’s music is steadily streamed about 400,000 times a day in the US (and twice that globally).
6. Jason Derulo
With more than 120 million streams, Jason Derulo’s horn-infused single “Talk Dirty” is one of our consistently top performing tracks of the year. It’s also the Miami native’s biggest hit since 2009’s chart-topping dance-pop number “Whatcha Say,” and his latest single “Wiggle” (featuring Snoop Dogg) is currently popping on our US viral chart.
7. Ariana Grande
It’s easy to see why Ariana Grande gets compared to Mariah Carey – the 20-year-old reaches those tricky high notes effortlessly and her live performances are downright dazzling. Ariana’s first album “Yours Truly” had a strong debut and her newest song “Problem” with Iggy Azalea, was an instant hit.
8. Hunter Hayes
His latest track “Invisible” has won over listeners with its anti-bullying stance and heartfelt delivery, and he just set the Guinness World Record for the most concerts played in multiple cities in 24 hours. His sophomore album "Storyline" is really resonating with our listeners, and we think Hunter is poised for big things in 2014.
9. Rita Ora
This sassy British powerhouse possesses one of the crispest, awesomest voices in pop music. Signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label, Rita’s new single “I Will Never Let You Down,” was produced by boyfriend Calvin Harris and is gaining traction with our listeners. We’ve seen growing interest in Rita from our US listeners and we expect her sophomore album to take her to the next level later this summer.
10. Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea’s hit “Fancy” blew up on Spotify in the beginning of May and has been our top song going on five weeks now. With more than 37 million streams so far, “Fancy” might just be the song of the summer. At this stage, Iggy’s biggest competition for the title is herself; Ariana Grande’s song “Problem” features Iggy and is also one of the hottest songs with our listeners at the moment.
11. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber’s image has taken a bit of a beating recently, but that doesn’t stop our younger listeners from streaming his music like crazy. With close to 800,000 streams daily, no amount of bad press can count Justin out as a musical force. Bieber’s top track on Spotify: “Beauty and a Beat” (more than 50M streams) followed closely by “As Long As You Love Me.”
12. Sam Smith
All eyes (and ears) are on UK crooner Sam Smith to be one of the year’s biggest breakout stars. His April appearance on SNL solidified him as a talent worthy of all the fuss. His falsetto soars, his heart bleeds, and his listener base has been growing steadily on Spotify since the year began.
Birdy might be soft-spoken, but she’s making a lot of noise. Immensely popular with our US listeners, the 18-year-old singer from Britain won us over with her falsetto take on Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” (more than 50 million streams) a few years ago. Currently touring North America and gearing up for her album “Fire Within” to be released stateside, Birdy is flying high. Spotify listeners in the US dig Birdy’s “People Help the People.”
Buzz has been building for the Compton MC known as YG (or Young Gangsta) since his 2009 hit “Toot it And Boot It.” In March, the 24-year-old raised his profile with his major label debut album “My Krazy Life” which debuted atop the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Spotify listeners in the US are getting behind YG’s Drake-assisted single “Who Do You Love.”
German DJ Anton Zaslavski, better known as Zedd, is classically trained and his bombastic beats rival those of Calvin Harris and Tiesto. He scooped up a Grammy for his track “Clarity” featuring Foxes, and he’s enjoyed rapid success with our listeners with more than 200 million streams in the past two years.
16. Demi Lovato
If you haven't heard singer Demi Lovato's hit song "Neon Lights" yet, you must be living in darkness; the dance-heavy ditty is everywhere and continues to climb on Spotify. Our listeners stream Demi's music about 650,000 times a day and are especially fond of her version of "Let it Go" from the Frozen soundtrack (more than 28 million streams).
17. The Neighbourhood
Don’t be fooled by the British spelling; The Neighbourhood is all American all the time. Hailing from Los Angeles, the alt rockers – who also go by The NBHD – have impressed with the hazy song “Sweater Weather,” which has been streamed almost 55 million times. The band’s debut album “I Love You” came out a year ago, yet our listeners still stream it steadily in high numbers. We recommend The NBHD’s new song “Honest” which is featured on “The Amazing Spiderman 2” soundtrack.
18. Phillip Phillips
Georgia native Phillip Phillips has it all: wholesome good looks, a gorgeously raspy voice, a gentle disposition, and of course the American Idol title from the show’s 11th season. His Idol victory song “Home,” as well as the memorable follow-up “Gone, Gone, Gone,” have been streamed about 50 million times. Spotify listeners are loving his newly released sophomore album “Behind the Light.”
19. John Newman
When you think of Motown, Yorkshire, England probably doesn’t come to mind – but that’s where 23-year-old singer John Newman calls home. Inspired by the soul music his mother played for him growing up, John’s throwback style has found an audience with our listeners; with more than 70 million streams, his breakout hit “Love Me Again” is one of Spotify’s most popular dance songs of the past six months.
Disclosure is the EDM flavor of the moment and Spotify listeners have latched onto the UK producer duo in a big way, streaming dance hit “Latch” more than 40 million times (the song features vocals from our #12 artist Sam Smith). We’ve also seen a spike in streams in the US since Disclosure appeared at Coachella in April.
21. Earl Sweatshirt
In 2013 the young MC dropped his major label debut album “Doris,” complete with the intensity and impressive wordplay skills that had become his calling card. His most popular song with our listeners is “Chum” (4 million plus streams).
22. Jake Bugg
Jake’s throwback sound is distinctly Dylan-esque, with shades of The Beatles and Neil Young. It’s perhaps not surprising that this 20-year-old appeals to older fans – we see strong interest from our listeners in their 30s and 40s. His top song, “Lightning Bolt,” has 10M plus streams.
Long-haired Irish troubadour Hozier (pronounced ho-zee-er) has been a mainstay on our viral chart in the US all year thanks to his powerful song “Take Me to Church.” With his deep, bluesy voice, Hozier’s performance was one of the highlights at the Spotify House during SXSW.
24. Joey Bada$$
Brooklyn MC Joey Bada$$ rose through the ranks with a gritty video for the song “Survival Tactics” and a highly praised mixtape called “1999.” Tracks from Joey’s 2013 debut album “Summer Knights” graced our viral chart in the US and our listeners especially dig “Waves,” which has enjoyed more than two million streams.
25. Sky Ferreira
Sky Ferreira is a singer-songwriter, model and straight-shooter. She also dared to bare her naked bod on the cover of her debut album, “Night Time, My Time,” which generated the 80s-tinged “Everything Is Embarrassing.” Our listeners in the UK and Australia dig Sky, and so does Miley Cyrus, who invited Sky on her Bangerz Tour as an opening act.
Listen to Spotify's Top 25 Under 25 playlist.
With insights from Spotify Trends Expert Shanon Cook