Even in the world of digitally streaming music, Elvis Presley is still the King.
According to SoundExchange, a performance rights organization that collects royalties from more than 2,000 digital music services, Presley ranks as the most frequently streamed artist of the past decade, followed by Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam.
Contemporary R&B and hip-hop acts are well represented on the SoundExchange list, with Rihanna ranking No. 4, Drake No. 5, Usher No. 6 and Lil Wayne No. 7. But the list clearly favors classic rock acts, with The Beatles coming in at No. 8 and the Grateful Dead at No. 10. Country-pop queen Taylor Swift completes the list, ranking ninth.
“I find it interesting you’ve got Elvis Presley, you’ve got The Beatles,” says Marie Knowles, SoundExchange’s vice president of communication. “They’re among the most listened to on this new platform. These are iconic rock acts, and they’ve got staying power.”
Satellite radio appears to have a particularly heavy influence on the SoundExchange rankings. The top three acts – Presley, Springsteen and Pearl Jam â?? all have dedicated channels on Sirius XM, as does the Grateful Dead.
SoundExchange, founded in 2003, collects royalty payments for artists and rights holders from the digital music services, which include satellite radio and streaming television services like Music Choice. Internet radio stations such as Pandora and iHeartRadio, as well as Internet music sites like Last.fm, comprise the majority of the services the organization licenses. The organization’s payments are calculated based on how many times the organization receives reports that a user actually listened to a particular track.
SoundExchange does not license on-demand services like YouTube and Spotify, where listeners choose to play specific tracks.