If 2020 was the year that flipped the world on its head, 2021 was the year that we got used to seeing things upside down. With “normal” thrown out the window, people around the world started to embrace the unknown—and in doing so, championed all of the things that make each of us unique.
Spotify’s 2021 Wrapped celebrates this idea—the millions of weird and wonderful ways to listen and live in a world that continues to keep us on our toes. Today, we unveil the top artists, albums, songs, podcasts, and more that defined how more than 381 million people around the world listened and discovered audio during a year that turned “unprecedented” into, well, precedented.
As usual, Wrapped helps us reflect on the large role audio played in the lives of our listeners—and how our favorite creators soundtracked the world around us.
The top artists, songs, and albums globally
For the second year in a row, Puerto Rican Reggaeton star Bad Bunny takes the title of most-streamed artist in the world on Spotify. And what’s more: He’s received over 9.1 billion streams without releasing a new album this year. He is swiftly followed by singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, whose Red (Taylor’s Version) gave old and new fans alike a reason to relive the artist’s early groundbreaking work. Rounding up 2021’s top three is BTS. The globally beloved k-pop group had a standout year thanks to their single “Butter.” Canadian hip-hop artists Drake—who released Certified Lover Boy in September—and Justin Bieber—whose 2021 album Justice featured collaborations with artists from across the globe—take spots four and five, respectively.
Another year at the top for #BadBunny! Congratulations to 2021’s most-streamed artist 🥂 #SpotifyWrapped pic.twitter.com/mCl8fFxoXM
— Spotify (@Spotify) December 1, 2021
The top song of 2021 globally is Olivia Rodrigo’s runaway “drivers license,” which garnered over 1.1 billion streams. Lil Nas X’s viral “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” dances its way to second place and heralded the artist’s first studio album. The Kid LAROI enters the ranks for the first time, with his Justin Bieber collaboration “STAY” taking third. The fourth spot sees Olivia Rodrigo once again, this time with “good 4 u,” which also earned the title of 2021 Spotify Song of the Summer. The fifth most streamed song to rise in the ranks is Dua Lipa’s “Levitating (feat. DaBaby).”
When it comes to top albums of 2021 globally, Olivia Rodrigo once again claims the crown—her debut album SOUR clearly held a bit of sweetness. Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia ranks second, with Justin Bieber’s Justice, Ed Sheeran’s =, and Doja Cat’s Planet Her coming in third, fourth, and fifth.
The top podcasts globally
Coming out of its first full year as a Spotify exclusive, The Joe Rogan Experience remains the number-one podcast on Spotify globally. It is followed by the fearless Alex Cooper’s Call Her Daddy, which also became exclusive to Spotify in 2021. True crime and news continue to be popular genres within the medium, with Crime Junkie, TED Talks Daily, and The Daily rounding out the list.
Notable trends of 2021
When we looked at trends on Spotify in 2021, the top songs, artists, albums, and podcasts weren’t the only things we found. We learned about the moments that united listeners—and the ones that were notable for their uniqueness.
Nostalgia played a role in people’s listening in 2021 as fans rediscovered old favorites—and new generations adopted them as well. Let’s face it: There are certain songs and albums that just sound like home (in a good way).