Spotify 2012: what the world was listening to

Rihanna, David Guetta and Someone I Used To Know were the biggest artists, top track this year

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 31, 2012
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2012 was a big year for the music streaming industry. A number of big companies, including Nokia, Microsoft and Apple, either launched a streaming service or announced their intentions to do so. And then there was the news that MySpace was going to be redoing itself as a streaming service as well. Music streaming is quickly becoming very competative.

So what were people actually listening to this year? 

Music streaming service Spotify has released its 2012 year in review, revealing the biggest artists worldwide, and the most popular tracks by country.

The most popular female artist of the year was Rihanna, while David Guetta was the most popular male artist. His album, entitled Nothing but the Beat, was the most popular, and the most shared, this year. Coldplay emerged as the year's most popular band and Adele was the most shared artist.

When it came to tracks, Gotye's Someone I Used to Know was both the most popular track and the most shared. It was the most popular track in the USA, France, Spain, The United Kingdon, Sweden and Switzerland this year.

If anyone seemed poised to topple Gotye it was Carly Rae Jepsen, whose Call Me Maybe was the biggest track in Australia, Finland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands this year.

In face, the only countries without either Someone I Used to Know or Call Me Maybe as their top track were New Zealand, which saw Maroon 5's One More Night at the top; Norway, which had Laleh's Some Die Young, and Germany, where Asaf Avidan & the Mojos' One Day / Reckoning Song was the most popular.

Spotify also released the list of its top 10 most popular apps: 

  • TuneWiki, which gives users synced lyrics so that they can sing along
  • Soundrop, which lets users create "rooms" to share streamed-music playlists with their friends
  • We Are Hunted, which provides charts of the best new songs, as measured by popularity on music blogs and social media
  •, which gives users personalised recommendations based on the music they play
  • Pitchfork, which offers news, reviews and features on music, and then creates playlists based on features and links to the music that is reviewed.
  • Digster, which is a service that publishes playlists from a team of editors. The playlists are marked with an icon to symbolize the mood or situation the editors think they are best suited to.
  • musiXmatch, a lyrics database that helps users sing alone.
  • Billboard Top Charts, which highlights the most popular songs on the weekly charts
  • Filtr, which allows users to share and create new playlists by combining their own musical taste with those of their friends by connecting through Facebook.
  • Moodagent, which hels create playlists to match a user's mood.

Music streaming news in 2012

The music streaming space became even more competative this year.

In September, Nokia launched a free music streaming service available for customers who own a Lumia handset. Users are encouraged make their own playlists, using the Create feature, which will give them access to millions of songs in Nokia’s MP3 store. When a user chooses an artist or a song, The Echo Nest builds a station around that artist, generating a playlist.

Nokia Music also offers the Gig Finder feature, which customers can use to find concerts and shows based on their location. 

In October, Microsort unveiled Xbox Music, which was launched first on the Xbox console, then onto Windows 8 when it debuted on October 26.

Like Spotify, Xbox Music offers free on demand streaming access to its 30-million catalog of songs in the Xbox Music Store, where users can buy single tracks or entire albums.

It was also reported in September that that Apple was in negotiations with music labels to create an Internet radio service, much like Pandora, though it was said that it would take months for Apple to have everything in place to launch such a service.

And, if all goes according to plan, there will be anew competitor to all of these services in the next year or two: the revampe MySpace.

A little about Spotify

The U.K.-based Spotify was launched in 2006 by Chief Executive Daniel Ek, who has said that the company could make up to $900 million in revenue in 2012. It first became available in the United States in July 2011, and has seen massive growth since.

In July, Spotify reached four million paying subscribers, growing from only four million users total to 15 million users in just ten months.

The last time Spotify raised any money was $100 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Russian investment firm DST Global in 2011, at a $1 billion valuation, though in November it was reported that the company was raising $100 million for $3 billion valuation.

And that's it for me everyone. It's been great writing for you all this year. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and I will see you in 2013!

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