As a central part of our lives, music provides a daily soundtrack as it motivates, inspires, comforts, and gives us a voice at times when we need the world to listen. In 2020, we turned to music in record levels, listening to and discovering more music than ever before. Today, Apple Music reveals the biggest songs and albums of the year with its annual Apple Music Top 100 charts. For the first time, Apple Music will share the Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics chart, and the first Shazamed locations of the Top 25 Songs. These global charts highlight and celebrate another incredible year in music, and together they provide a truly unique and global perspective on the year’s biggest music.
Apple Music also announces the Top 100 Songs of 2020 in South Africa which sees local artists with an impressive 37% of the year’s biggest hits. R&B sensation Elaine saw all 7 tracks from her debut release “Elements” make the Top 100, while Amapiano king Kabza de Small dominated the charts with 11 entries on the Top 100. Kabza de Small is also the most streamed artist in South Africa this year on Apple Music.
Charts highlights and Top 25 Songs (including first Shazamed locations), Albums, Lyrics and Shazamed Songs of 2020 below.
Full Top 100 charts-playlists are available on Apple Music:
Top 100 Songs of 2020: Global – apple.co/WW2020
Top 100 Songs of 2020: South Africa – https://music.apple.com/playlist/pl.2093435fe878475db412c8c07030ea87
Top 100 Songs of 2020: Nigeria – https://music.apple.com/ng/playlist/pl.0c68e46213554381b4b9f5afaba7699f
Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics – apple.co/Lyrics2020
Top 100 2020: Shazam – apple.co/Shazam2020
– Top Song of 2020: The Box – Roddy Ricch
– Top Album: Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial – Roddy Ricch
– Top Lyrics: WAP (feat. Megan Thee Stallion) – Cardi B
– Top Shazamed Song: Dance Monkey – Tones And I
Biggest Songs of 2020
It was clear from the day that Roddy Ricch’s debut studio album Please Excuse Me For Being Anti-Social was released, that “The Box” would be the standout track. Garnering 13.7 million plays worldwide in its debut week, “The Box” was an immediate standout on Apple Music’s Rap Life playlist as well as the Apple Music Top 100 charts. By the second week of January, the song was surpassing 30 million weekly plays globally in addition to being Shazamed 1 million times in the first six weeks. By the end of January, the song had already reached #1 on the Apple Music Top 100 charts in 34 countries, eventually peaking at the top in 37 territories by mid-February, in addition to topping the Apple Music Top 100 Global chart. From its very first Shazam in Minnesota, the song has now been Shazamed over 6.7 million times globally. Additionally, fans have spent over 246,000 hours viewing the lyrics of the song, the 4th most time spent with a song’s lyrics on Apple Music, showing an even deeper level of engagement.
While “Blinding Lights” had the second most streams this year, it actually had the most listeners, which is a testament to its global appeal. Having reached the top 5 on the Apple Music Top 100 charts in 92 countries, including #1 in 62 countries, the song was one of the world’s most listened to tracks of the year. Also, from its very first Shazam in Paris, France it went on to be Shazamed 17.5 million times worldwide, the third highest total for any song this year. And listeners were engaged with the lyrics as well, spending 235,000 hours reading the lyrics worldwide, which was good for 6th highest on our year-end Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics chart.
When we consider artists and songs that came out of nowhere to become global breakout hits, our first thought this year would be Tones And I with the song “Dance Monkey”. The song was the third most streamed song in 2020. The very first time the song was Shazamed in Dusseldorf, Germany was just the beginning of music fans asking “what is that song?” – a question that was asked of Shazam an incredible 24.6 million times over the year. Rewriting Shazam’s record books, the song is the most Shazamed track not only this year, but also of all time. The song started to emerge in September 2019, and remained in the top 40 on the Apple Music Global Daily Top 100 chart a full year later, currently reigning as the second longest consecutive weeks streak on the chart.
Rounding out the top 5 most streamed songs of the year, we find a couple of songs that were first Shazamed in the United States. DaBaby’s “ROCKSTAR”, featuring Roddy Ricch, the fourth most streamed song of the year, was also Shazamed 5 million times, starting with its first Shazam in Cleveland, Ohio. “Life is Good” by Future featuring Drake, this year’s fifth most streamed song, was first Shazamed in Houston, Texas, and was Shazamed over 3 million times globally. Both songs were also in the top 20 of our Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics chart, logging a combined 300,000 hours of lyric views between the two songs.
Biggest Albums of 2020
Led by the year’s biggest song, Roddy Ricch’s album Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial is the most streamed album of the year. While “The Box” was the most streamed song, fans were exploring all of the album’s hits, with “High Fashion”, “Start Wit Me” and “Bacc Seat” all appearing on our Top 100 Songs of 2020: Global chart. “The Box” and “High Fashion” also appear on the Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics chart as fans engage with Roddy’s message.
Lil Baby’s album My Turn was the second most streamed album this year, with six of the albums songs reaching the year-end top 100, led by “Whoa” at #9. Other standout tracks include “Sum 2 Prove”, “We Paid”, “Emotionally Scarred”, “Grace” and “Commercial”, showing the tremendous depth of the album, as well as the engagement of his fans. Lil Baby also placed 5 songs on the Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics chart, including 4 from My Turn, as well as the socially important hit “The Bigger Picture”.
Pop Smoke’s album Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon comes in at #3 on the year-end album chart, placing three songs in the year-end top 100, led by “For the Night” at #29. “Dior” and “Mood Swings” also reached the year-end song chart. Both “Mood Swings” and “For the Night” reached the Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics chart as well.
Rounding out the top 5 albums are Lil Uzi Vert, who’s album Eternal Atake – LUV vs. the World 2, comes in at #4, and Summer Walker, with her album Over It, led by top 100 songs “Playing Games” and “I’ll Kill You”, landing at #5.
Music Discovery Goes Global
Thinking about global music discovery, our thoughts jump to the music scenes in major markets. Places like Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, London, New York, and Los Angeles are all where cutting edge music is being discovered. But based on this year’s biggest hits, we should also be thinking about Cleveland, Ohio, Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Adana, Turkey. These not-so-major music markets are the location of the earliest Shazams for some of this year’s most streamed songs.
Discovery of new music in 2020 has truly gone global. The 20 most streamed songs of the year were first Shazamed in 19 different cities and in 11 different countries. In all, the top 100 songs were first tagged in 70 different markets worldwide, representing 29 different countries.
Even when looking at artists with multiple hits, their first Shazams are coming from all over the world. The first Shazam for Billie Eilish’s “everything I wanted” came from Moscow, but her song “bad guy”, was first Shazamed in Shenzhen, China, and “when the party’s over” was first tagged in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Drake had four songs in the year-end top 100, with his first Shazams coming from the Dominican Republic, Israel, France and the United States. Post Malone also had four of the 100 most streamed songs in 2020, with first Shazam discovery happening in Croatia, Italy, the US, and Mexico.
We can’t forget the world’s second largest music market, Japan. As Apple Music’s fastest growing territory among our top markets, Japan is seeing remarkable growth of music within its borders and music fans in Tokyo were first to Shazam “I LOVE…” by Official HIGE DANdism and “夜に駆ける” (Yoru Ni Kakeru) by YOASOBI. In fact, “夜に駆ける” (Yoru Ni Kakeru) was the second most Shazamed song in Japan this year, trailing only “Dance Monkey”. The song has been streamed over 100 million times on Apple Music and comes in as the #69 most streamed song on our year-end chart. But, most impressively, is the engagement that YOASOBI’s fans have with the song’s lyrics, making it #3 on the Top 100 2020: Most-Read Lyrics chart with 260,000 hours of lyric views.
Let’s not at all diminish the importance of some of the world’s major music markets. London was the first to Shazam “Say So” by Doja Cat. Paris was first on five of the songs in the top 100, including songs by The Weeknd, Maroon 5, Diplo, Don Toliver, and Drake. New York also led the way for five songs, first Shazaming hits by Harry Styles, The Weeknd, Camilia Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Pop Smoke, and Young Thug & Chris Brown. But for every major music market, we find small markets with engaged music fans that are Shazaming songs before anyone else, proving that music discovery can come from anywhere.
2020 saw Master KG hit the top of the Global Shazam charts with his smash hit “Jerusalema” and Amapiano newcomers Mapara A Jazz have a Top 50 Global Shazam single with their debut single “John Vuli Gate”. In South Africa, the most Shazamed song of 2020 was Elaine’s “You’re The One” and most Shazamed Artist of the Year was Amapiano king Kabza de Small.
Shazam Top 10 Year End 2020 – South Africa
1 Elaine – You’re the One
2 Master KG Feat. Nomcebo Zikode – Jerusalema
3 Tones And I – Dance Monkey
4 MFR Souls Feat. DJ Maphorisa, Sha Sha & Kabza De Small – Love You Tonight
5 Sha Sha Feat. DJ Maphorisa & Kabza De Small – Tender Love
6 Soa mattrix, SoulfulG & Shaun101 – Uthando
7 Nomcebo Zikode Feat. Master KG – Xola Moya Wam’
8 Kabza De Small x DJ Maphorisa – Emcimbini [Live]
9 Sithelo – Forever
10 SAINt JHN – Roses (Imanbek Remix)