2012 was the year that Spotify really took off (in the US, at least), so it seems fitting to look back on the past 12 months of music through the streaming service’s list of its most-played tracks of the year. What can we learn?
PEOPLE LOVE THEM SOME “SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW”: The art-rock track from Australian iconoclast Gotye was the most streamed song of the year. That’s not a complete surprise–if we had to guess, we would have put it third after “Call Me Maybe” and “Gangnam Style,” and Gotye’s song did have a long head-start on both of those. (If you were curious, Our Girl ended up at no. 2. Not too shabby!)
SPOTIFY IS NOT AS KIND TO PSY AS YOUTUBE: Despite premiering in late July, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” has already become the most-viewed video of all time on YouTube. On Spotify, though, the K-Pop smash was only the 24th most-streamed song of the past 11 months. Proof just how much of the track’s popularity was due to its amazing music video?
THE HELLISH REIGN OF FLO RIDA CONTINUES: We’ve explored Flo Rida’s perverse recipe for chart success before, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still amazed every time we see evidence of the mediocre Floridian’s overwhelming popularity. This time, he’s the only artist with two hits in Spotify’s top five: “Whistle” at no. 4, and “Wild One” at no. 5. And with “Good Feeling” at no. 19, he’s got three in the top 20! The Flo Rida madness, it never stops.
WIZ KHALIFA HAD A BETTER YEAR THAN WE’D REALIZED: Wiz Khalifa isn’t at the Big Sean level yet, but we had to confess that mentally we’d started to categorize him as a one-hit wonder. We know, we know: not fair! But, amazingly, he’s ended up as only one of three artists (Sia is the other one) to appear more than once in Spotify’s top 20, with “Payphone” landing at no. 8 and “Young Wild and Free” coming in at no. 15.
EDM BEATS BOY BANDS IN THE STREAMING BATTLE: The two genres that looked like the future of music around the turn of the century have undergone an unexpected pop revival in recent years, but dubstep and other dance music has a strong lead over boy bands when it comes to streaming. David Guetta, Avicii and Skrillex all show up in Spotify’s top 20, which contains only one boy-band track: One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” This makes sense. Part of the fun of of boy bands is watching them—just listening to their song doesn’t give you the full experience.
THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST STILL MEANS SOMETHING: Shamefully, we had to look up “Euphoria,” sitting tight in the no. 10 spot. Turns out, it’s the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, a rollicking club banger performed by Swedish singer Loreen. Congrats Europe, you’re still a major force to be reckoned with!