Women pop stars as popular as men in 2018 in UK Top 40 chart
- Five of the top 10 acts in 2018 were women and they spent 310 weeks in the UK charts, up from 226 weeks
- The number of women working in the music industry has also increased
Female pop stars have seen their popularity in Britain rocket in comparison with their male counterparts, according to analysis of time spent in the UK Top 40 chart this year.
Data analysis by the Press Association found that five of the top 10 most popular acts of 2018 were all female; they racked up a total of 310 weeks on the chart versus the 328 weeks achieved by men.
According to the Press Association, in 2017 the figure was just 226 weeks for female artists, with 386 weeks for men.
The 2018 list is topped by the Canadian rapper Drake, who had a total of 102 weeks on the chart for 13 hits. The female rapper Cardi B came second, and British-Kosovan pop singer Dua Lipa third, while Jess Glynne, Ariana Grande and Anne-Marie all featured in the top 10.
The data is slightly complicated by the fact that some of the music tracks on which the women performed were produced by men.
Dua Lipa’s hit One Kiss was made in collaboration with Calvin Harris, so both would be credited in terms of chart weeks; Electricity was produced by the duo Silk City; 22 of Jess Glynne’s weeks on the chart were from her track with Rudimental and Macklemore, These Days; and Anne-Marie’s Friends was a hit with the EDM producer Marshmello.
Cardi B also had three charting tracks as a guest star to male acts: Taki Taki with DJ Snake alongside Selena Gomez and Ozuna, Girls Like You with Maroon 5, and Finesse with Bruno Mars. But the New York rapper had another three hits under her own name, plus a guest spot for Rita Ora on the controversial track Girls.
Dua Lipa’s success follows on from her breakthrough year in 2017, when she scored 60 weeks on the chart. As well as her and Drake, the other artist to reach the top 10 in both years was Post Malone, whose five hits (including one guesting for Tiesto) spent a total of 63 weeks in the chart this year.
The top 10 featured four female acts of 2017 plus the mixed-gender trio Clean Bandit, though their total number of weeks on the chart was markedly lower, thanks in part to the domination of Ed Sheeran.
The singer-songwriter, who spent much of 2018 on what became the year’s biggest grossing tour, spent 167 weeks in the charts in 2017, and ended up with four of the 10 biggest selling singles of that year.
The popularity of female-fronted pop comes against a backdrop of steadily improving equality in the music sector.
In a survey published in December the lobbying group UK Music found the proportion of women across the industry had risen from 45.3 per cent in 2016 to 49.1 per cent in 2018, with the percentage of young people (aged 16 to 24) in the industry up from 54.6 per cent female in 2016 to 65.3 per cent female in 2018.
The chair of UK Music’s task force on diversity, Keith Harris, said the findings showed “some of the initiatives put in place across the industry are bearing fruit, things are changing for the better”.