Dua Lipa’s songs were played more than anyone else’s on UK radio and television last year, thanks to her award-winning album Future Nostalgia.
In topping the chart she has ended the reign of Ed Sheeran, who has been the UK’s most-played artist every year since 2017.
Two of her singles, Physical and Don’t Start Now, were among the 10 most popular songs on the UK airwaves.
The most-played track overall was The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights.
The figures were compiled by music licensing company PPL, which monitors the music played on TV and radio and in pubs and clubs.
It said Sheeran was the year’s second most-played artist, followed by Ariana Grande and Sam Smith.
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“It was such a tricky decision but some things are just meant to be,” the 25-year-old told the BBC earlier this year. “I’m just grateful that it served as a form of escapism during this time.
“My whole idea was to create a fun world for people to enjoy even when they’re at home – and I feel lucky that I had the opportunity to do that.”
Future Nostalgia went on to become the best-selling release of 2020 in the UK, winning album of the year at the Brit Awards and best pop album at the Grammys.
The star is reportedly working on the follow-up already.
“She was talking about album number three when we barely had number two done,” said Joe Kentish, her record label boss, in a recent interview.
“You’re half-expecting that she might want to take a break or go about things differently but she’s like ‘Right, what’s next?’
“Her interests, her knowledge, her thirst to learn new things and to be in control of what she does just grows and grows.”
Hits from 2019 prop up charts
PPL’s chart illustrates how some songs sustain a long after-life on radio, months after they stop jostling for position in the official Top 40.
Kygo and Whitney Houston’s cover of Steve Winwood’s Higher Love was the third most-played song of 2020, despite falling out of the charts in November 2019.
Peter Leathem, the company’s chief executive, said the artists listed had “played a significant role in helping many of us to get through these difficult times”.
The society collected £225.7m in royalties last year, down from £271.8m in 2019, after music venues were forced to close during the pandemic.
“With live music shut down for much of 2020, PPL’s royalty payments became an even more important source of income for these artists,” Leathem noted.
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