Pop music is one of the most well-known and loved genres of music all over the world. Pop idols spring up every now and then and dominate the charts with massive hits and killer albums. With so many artists hitting the big time these days, it’s hard to know who the most influential idols are right now.
That’s why pop music experts at Slingo have analysed the stats to reveal the biggest Kings and Queens of Pop of the 21st century. Discover the biggest and most far-reaching pop idols of our century right here.
Everything from Spotify monthly listeners, followers, and playlists, charted tracks and chart features, Instagram followers and likes, TikTok followers and views, and global Google searches over the last year, have been pooled to show the biggest names in pop.
The Kings and Queens of 21st-Century Pop
1. Justin Bieber - 8.94
Spotify monthly listeners - 73.3 million
Charted Tracks - 129
TikTok Views - 66 billion
Justin Bieber has been revealed as the biggest Pop King of the 21st century. Canadian Bieber has had a solid 129 charted tracks, appearing in 395 charts around the world. The pop King regularly sees 73.3 million monthly listeners and has accumulated 71.4 million followers on Spotify. Bieber also appears on over 99,000 user playlists. He has 287 million Instagram followers and has raked in over 66 billion views on TikTok.
Bieber was born in 1994 and reached fame as a teen idol after the release of his first album, My World, in 2008. When he released his second album, My World 2.0, he became the youngest solo male act to top the US Billboard 200 chart in 47 years. Bieber is undoubtedly one of the best-selling pop artists of the 21st century. He has achieved a monumental three Diamond certifications for his tracks "Baby", "Sorry" and "Despacito", and has also received two Grammy Awards.
2. Taylor Swift - 8.77
Spotify monthly listeners - 84.9 million
Charted Tracks - 233
TikTok Views - 49.6 billion
If Justin Bieber is our pop King then Taylor Swift is our pop Queen. Ranking closely behind Bieber, Swift has been revealed as the second biggest pop idol of the 21st century. Taylor Swift has seen widespread success having released 233 charted tracks. On Spotify, she sees 84.9 million monthly listeners and has pulled in 72.5 million followers. Swift appears in more than 55,600 user playlists.
Taylor Swift began her artistic career as a young country singer. Her debut album, released in 2006, made her the first-ever female country singer to write a U.S. platinum-certified album. Swift is easily one of the best-selling pop artists of the 21st century, and maybe of all time. Swift has a staggering five albums with over one million copies sold in the US and has won 12 Grammy Awards.
3. Nicki Minaj - 8.31
Spotify monthly listeners - 48.7 million
Charted Tracks - 155
TikTok Views - 58.9 billion
Our third biggest 21st-century idol is pop Queen Nucki Minaj. Minaj’s 155 charted tracks have appeared in 155 charts around the world, and she pulls in 48.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify. She appears in a huge 92,800 playlists on the music streaming site and has accumulated 58.9 billion views on TikTok.
Nicki Minaj began as a rapper. Despite being hailed as the "Queen of Rap", Minaj crossed over into pop with the release of her hit single Starships in 2012. This track song went on to become the fifth best-selling single of 2012. Minaj has over 100 charted hits with tracks such as TROLLZ, Fractions and Say So remix.
4. Ariana Grande - 8.19
Spotify monthly listeners - 74.3 million
Charted Tracks - 112
TikTok Views - 31.2 billion
Ariana Grande ranks as one of the biggest pop Queens of the 21st century. Ariana Grande has a solid total of 112 charted tracks which have appeared in 313 charts. She features in 70,800 Spotify playlists and sees a massive 74.3 million monthly listeners. Her TikTok has 31.8 million followers and 31.2 billion views.
Ariana Grande has wide critical acclaim for her pop performances. She has an excellent four-octave vocal range and practises a signature use of the whistle register. Grande made history when she became the first artist to achieve five number-one debuts and the first-ever solo artist to chart three number one-debuts in one year. Ariana Grande also has two Grammy Awards.
5. Ed Sheeran - 8.06
Spotify monthly listeners - 84 million
Charted Tracks - 179
TikTok Views - 33.1 billion
Ed Sheeran is our only other pop King to reach the top five biggest pop idols of the 21st century. Sheeran has one of the highest volumes of monthly listeners on Spotify at 84 million. His 179 charted hits have featured on a whopping 416, the most of any of the pop idols on this list.
Sheeran is one of the biggest pop artists of the 21st century. His music has hit critical and widespread acclaim, with two of his albums ranked among the best-selling albums in UK chart history. Deserving of his spot on this list, Sheeran was also named the Official Charts Company’s Artist of the Decade in 2019. Among his achievements are a cameo in the major TV hit Game Of Thrones and having been awarded an MBE!
The Pop Idol with the Most Spotify Monthly Listeners
The Weeknd - 107 million monthly listeners
The artist with the most monthly listeners on Spotify is The Weeknd, with over 100 million. The Weeknd was the first Canadian pop artist to reach a staggering 4 diamond-certified singles. His biggest hit, Blinding Lights, holds the title for the most-streamed song in Spotify history.
The Pop Idol with the Most Spotify Followers
Ed Sheeran - 111 million Spotify followers
Ed Sheeran is not just the pop artist with the most Spotify followers but also the most followed of all artists on the platform. Ed has proved himself as one of the best pop kings of all time, winning seven BRIT Awards and four Grammys.
The Pop Idol with the Most Charted Tracks
Drake - 273 charted tracks
Drake ranks as the 17th biggest pop idol of the 21st century and has racked up a whopping 273 charted tracks throughout his career. The next pop artist with the most charted tracks is pop Queen Taylor Swift, who has 233 charted tracks, a full 40 less than Drake.
Data is correct as of 25th April 2023. Data was collected using SongStats and Google Keywords.
Each artist was given a normalised score out of ten for each factor before an average of these scores was taken.