Justin Bieber - Dua Lipa - Ed Sheeran - David Guetta

Top 100 songs played on the radio in the UK in 2021

2022 has begun and we’re already nostalgic about 2021, so we took a look back at the Top 100 songs which got the most radio airplay last year in the UK. Based on the +29,000 radio stations we monitor, here is what we discovered.

Before diving into the specifics, here are a few interesting facts about the Top 100 list as a whole.

33 songs of the 2021’s Top 100 list were also featured in 2020’s. Dua Lipa and Justin Bieber are the only artists that have been featured in the UK Top 100 list two years in a row with over 4 songs on them. Dua Lipa had 5 songs in 2020; 5 songs in 2021. Justin Bieber had 4 songs in 2020; 4 songs in 2021. 67% of songs feature male-only acts (artists or bands), and 29% of songs feature female-only acts. Compared to 2020, this is a 16% increase in the number of male-only acts, and a 28% decrease in the number of female-only acts featured in the Top 100 list. Although all songs are in English, 19% of artists featured are from non English-speaking countries. 51 songs were released prior to 2021.
Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits. Galantis & David Guetta & Little Mix - Heartbreak Anthem. Calvin Harris Feat. Tom Grennan - By Your Side. Joel Corry & Raye & David Guetta - Bed. Joel Corry Feat. Mnek - Head & Heart. The Weeknd - Blinding Lights. Shane Codd - Get Out My Head. Miley Cyrus - Midnight Sky. P!nk	 - All I Know So Far. Dua Lipa - Levitating. Keith Urban & P!nk - One Too Many. Becky Hill & David Guetta - Remember. Atb X Topic X A7s - Your Love (9pm). Jason Derulo - Take You Dancing. Years & Years - Starstruck. The Weeknd - Save Your Tears. Elton John & Dua Lipa - Cold Heart. Riton X Nightcrawlers Feat. Mufasa & Hypeman - Friday. Meduza & Dermot Kennedy - Paradise.
Album cover of Ed Sheeran's single Bad Habits.

Ranked #1: “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran

It is official, “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran was the most played song on UK radios in 2021! It got 173,600 radio plays, which represents 8.88% of its global airplay. 

The song was released on June 25th, 2021, through Warner’s sub label Atlantic Records, as the lead single of his fifth studio album, = (pronounced “equals”). The song turned out to be more than just a UK success-story, it also became the #2 most played song on radio in the world in 2021 - with an astonishing 1,956,000 plays! (Interested in learning more about how his label and team plans tours? Check out our blog article about it).

Photo of British girl group Little Mix

Artist spotlight: Little Mix

Little Mix is a three-piece British girl group which won The X Factor UK in 2011. Since then, they have gone on to release six UK Top 5 studio albums over time, and, as of 2021, have become the 5th best-selling girl group of all time in the world.

Five of their songs made it into the list in 2021, including two songs - “Heartbreak Anthem” (#2) and “Break Up Song” (#20) - in the Top 20! The other songs featured are “Kiss My (Uh Oh)” (#47) with Anne-Marie, “Sweet Melody” (#57), and “No Time For Tears” (#75) with Nathan Dawe.

Olivia Rodrigo - Good 4 U. The Weeknd - Take My Breath. Ed Sheeran -  Shivers. Coldplay - Higher Power. Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande - Rain On Me. Justin Bieber - Anyone. The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber - Stay. Miley Cyrus Feat. Dua Lipa - Prisoner. Tom Grennan - Little Bit Of Love. Jonasu & Rani - Black Magic. Dua Lipa - We're Good. Marshmello & Jonas Brothers - Leave Before You Love Me. Sigala & James Arthur - Lasting Lover. Tiesto - The Business. Becky Hill - Last Time. Olivia Rodrigo - Drivers License. Anne-Marie & Ksi & Digital Farm Animals - Don't Play. The Kid Laroi - Without You. Majestic X Boney M. - Rasputin. Sam Smith - Diamonds.
Album cover of Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga's collaborative song Rain On Me.

Ranked #25: “Rain On Me” by Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga

Released in 2020, “Rain On Me” is the perfect example of what a successful collaboration between two pop stars looks like, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. A song that can withstand time. In 2020, it was ranked #13 on the worldwide Top 100 list ! One year later, it was still getting serious airplay, and turned out to be the #25 most played song in the UK!

Photo of English singer and songwriter Dua Lipa.

Artist spotlight: Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa is an English singer and songwriter. She rose to fame in 2017 with the release of her self-titled debut album which included three UK Top 10 singles at the time and got her nominated in five categories at the 2018 BRIT Awards!

In 2021, five of her songs made it into the Top 100 songs on the radio in the UK. “Cold Heart” (#17) with Elton John, “Prisoner” (#28) with Miley Cyrus, “We’re Good” (#31), as well as “Levitating” with DaBaby (#10) and “Don’t Start Now” (#65) - these two last mentioned songs belong to her 2020 album Future Nostalgia. All songs combined, she accumulated 463,100 radio plays in the UK alone! (Interested in reading more about how she took over the world with her album Future Nostalgia? Check out our blog article about it!).

Mabel - Let Them Know. David Guetta X Mistajam X John Newman - If You Really Love Me (how Will I Know). 24kgoldn Feat. Iann Dior - Mood. Lil Nas X - Montero (call Me By Your Name). Doja Cat Feat. Sza - Kiss Me More. Ed Sheeran - Afterglow. Anne-marie & Little Mix - Kiss My (uh Oh). Adele - Easy On Me. Rag'n'bone Man - All You Ever Wanted. Ava Max - My Head & My Heart. Jubel Feat. Neimy - Dancing In The Moonlight. Paul Woolford & Diplo Ft. Kareen Lomax - Looking For Me. Becky Hill & Topic - My Heart Goes (la Di Da). Tones And I - Dance Monkey. Anne-marie & Niall Horan - Our Song. Kygo & Whitney Houston - Higher Love. Little Mix - Sweet Melody. Jason Derulo Feat. Adam Levine - Lifestyle. Rain Radio & Dj Craig Gorman - Talk About. Justin Bieber Feat. Daniel Caesar, Giveon - Peaches.
Album cover of Adele's song Easy On Me, from her latest album 30.

Ranked #48: “Easy On Me” by Adele

Adele signed her grand return with “Easy On Me”, the lead single from her fourth studio album entitled 30. Although the song was only released on October 15th, 2021, through Sony Music’s Columbia Records, it still managed to gather 67,600 radio plays and became the #48 most played song on radio in the UK in 2021.

Photo of Canadian pop singer and artist Justin Bieber.

Artist spotlight: Justin Bieber

Canadian singer whose musical career began when he was discovered by record executive Scooter Braun in 2008. Since, Justin Bieber's released multiple albums and won various awards. In 2016, he became the first artist ever to occupy all Top 3 on the UK Singles Chart!

In 2021, four of his songs were featured amongst the UK’s Top 100 most played on the radio; three of the songs belong to his Justice album which was released the same year: “Hold On” (#64), “Anyone” (#26), and “Peaches” (#60) with Giveon and Daniel Caeser. The fourth song of his which featured in the list is his collaboration “Stay” (#27) with The Kid Laroi.

Coldplay X BTS - My Universe. Jason Derulo X Nuka - Love Not War (the Tampa Beat). Jax Jones &  Au/ra - I Miss U. Justin Bieber - Hold On. Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now. Silk Sonic - Leave The Door Open. Clean Bandit X Topic - Drive. Joel Corry & Jax Jones ft. Charli XCX & Saweetie - Out Out. Calvin Harris & Rag'n'bone Man - Giant. Topic, A7s - Breaking Me. James Arthur	 - Medicine. Harry Styles - Adore You. Lizzo - Good As Hell. Jax Jones, Ella Henderson - This Is Real. Nathan Dawe x Little Mix - No Time For Tears. Sigrid	 - Mirror. Marshmello Feat. Chvrches	 - Here With Me. Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling! Navos - Believe Me. KSI ft. Yungblud & Polo G - Patience.

Album cover of Harry Styles' song Adore You, from his album Fine Lines. album

Ranked #72: “Adore You” by Harry Styles

Released in 2019, “Adore You” by Harry Styles has proven to be a UK radio favorite year after year. In 2021, it was still amongst the Top 100 songs the most played, charting at #72 with 48,600 radio spins.

Photo of the German DJ and producer Topic.

Artist spotlight: Topic

Topic is a German DJ, producer, and musician. In 2016 he signed a record deal with Sony Music. Release after release he slowly made a name for himself, and eventually reached the UK Singles Chart for the first time in 2018 with his song "Breaking Me".

Three years later, in 2021, “Breaking Me” is still amongst the Top 100 songs most played on the radio in the UK, ranking #70. Along with it are three more of his: “Your Love (9pm)” (#13) with A7s and ATB, “My Heart Goes (La Di Da)” (#53) with Becky Hill, and “Drive” (#67) with Clean Bandit. Of all songs, only “Your Love (9pm)” made it to the Top 100 Worldwide list with 931,000 plays, ranking #19!

KSI ft. Craig David & Digital Farm Animals - Really Love. Lewis Capaldi - Before You Go. Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar Mk ft. Carla Monroe - 2am. Lil Nas X - Thats What I Want. Nathan Dawe X Annemarie X Mostack - Way Too Long. Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello - Señorita. Shane Codd - Always On My Mind. Sam Smith & Normani - Dancing With A Stranger. Walk The Moon - Shut Up And Dance. Sonique - It Feels So Good. Nathan Evans - Wellerman (220 Kid X Billen Ted Remix Ariana Grande - Positions. Harry Styles - Golden. Avicii - Wake Me Up. Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk. Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child. Mark Ronson Feat. Amy Winehouse - Valerie. Anne-marie - 2002. Clean Bandit feat. Zara Larsson - Symphony.

Album cover of Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse's collaborative song Valerie.

Ranked #98: “Valerie” by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse

Do you remember the 2007 song “Valerie” by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse? Well it’s still going strong on UK radios! In 2021 it was the #98 song the most played on the radio in the UK, with 41,400 spins.

Photo of the English singer and songwriter Anne-Marie.

Artist spotlight: Anne-Marie

English singer and songwriter whose career started in 2013 when she released her first song and went on tour with Dizzee Rascal. Since then, she’s been in the UK Singles Chart countless times, with hits like "Alarm" and "Ciao Adios".

Considering her past record, it comes as no surprise that Anne-Marie was a radio favorite in 2021 too, with five songs featured in UK’s Top 100 songs: “Don't Play” (#37) with KSI and Digital Farm Animals, “Kiss My (Uh Oh)” (#47) with Little Mix, “Our Song” (#55) with Niall Horan, “Way Too Long” (#86) with Nathan Dawe and Mostack, and “2002” (#99). All songs combined, she gathered 291,700 spins!


The data shown is based on radio airplay collected by WARM (powered by MusicDNA) from January 1st 2021 to December 31st 2021.

It’s worth noting that other radio charts may be influenced by the size and status of radio stations, this means that they will not necessarily consider all radio plays because they value certain radio stations over others. At WARM, all radios are considered equal and as relevant. Transparency is our priority.


What were the most played songs on the radio in the US in 2020? Find out: here.

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