For many, music plays an essential part of our everyday lives. If you’re anything like us, then your headphones will be on while you’re cooking, studying, walking, and every other part of the day. There’s a reason why our Spotify wrapped listening minutes were in the 50,000s. But, with so many artists and genres out there, you may be wondering, who does everyone listen to? We gathered data from YouGov and YPulse to find that out. We compared data on who Gen Z and Millennials listen to to find the top 10 most popular music artists for each generation! Any guesses? We were actually surprised that none of the top 10 were the same artists!  

Most popular artists among Millennials

10. Florence and the Machine 

One of a number of London-based artists in the top 10, the band formed in 2007 and has a 61% popularity rating on YouGov’s poll. Their style is a true mix of genres, using some rock, pop, soul, indie and folk influences, among others. Some of their more famous tracks include You’ve Got The Love and Dog Days Are Over. They are currently mid-world tour for their latest album Dance Fever, which will be in Europe throughout the summer and in the UK specifically on the 28th of June (Belfast) and the 13th of August (Newquay). 

9. The Killers

The Killers are considered to be one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century. With a 61% popularity rating, you can tell that they’re one of the most popular music artists here in the UK. The Las Vegas-based group have had hits such as Somebody Told Me and Mr Brightside, aka, the song to scream-shout at a sports match or the club or even just by yourself (trust me…). 

8. Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi had the breakout year of his career in 2019 with Someone You Loved. Since then, his career has truly skyrocketed. In addition to his very successful music career, evidenced by a 62% popularity rating on the YouGov poll, he has just released a Netflix documentary about returning to his roots and balancing some form of a normal life with his wildly successful career. Additionally, he has released a frozen pizza range called Big Sexy Pizza which you can buy at Tesco or Iceland, should you be interested. 

7. Alicia Keys

The most popular contemporary artists for millenials
Source: Spotify

Alicia Keys is arguably one of the most successful and famous R&B singers today, evidenced by her 62% popularity rating on the YouGov poll. The American has produced such hits as If I Ain’t Got You, Girl On Fire and No One. She went on a world tour last summer with her ‘Alicia + Keys’ tour and is set to go on another this summer, though just across the US this time. 

6. Gorillaz

The second of the London-based acts on this list, Gorillaz is one of the most popular music artists today, with a 62% popularity rating per YouGov. The band presents itself in a fictional universe, with the four-piece using characters and showing their work through music videos, comic strips and short cartoons. The band’s aesthetic encompasses a wide range of genres but falls generally under the “postmodern” banner. They just released their eighth studio album “Cracker Island” this past February. 

5. Coldplay

Jumping up a little bit to a 65% popularity rating, we have Coldplay. The band formed during their time at uni at UCL and have gone on to be one of the best-selling music acts of all time. Some of their biggest hits include Viva La Vida, Yellow and The Scientist. Like a number of other acts on this list, they are currently mid world tour for their latest album Music of the Spheres. This includes some dates in the UK, four at Manchester’s Etihad Arena (31st May, 1st June, 3rd June, 4th June) and two days in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. 

4. Beyoncé

Beyoncé is so well known that on this YouGov poll, she is the only act to score a perfect 100% on the fame rating. So, if you don’t know who Beyoncé is… no you don’t. The singer has performed in too many hits to count, both as a solo act and as part of Destiny’s Child. Her latest tour in support of her album Renaissance is expected to be one of the most in-demand concerts in recent memory. There are a number of dates in the UK, in Cardiff (May 17), Edinburgh (May 20), Sunderland (May 23) and London (May 29, May 30, June 1, June 3, June 4), though good luck trying to get tickets. 

3. Rihanna

The most popular contemporary artists for millennials
Source: Wikipedia

At number three on the list is Rihanna. She is the second-best-selling female music artist of all time, only behind Madonna, having between 230 and 250 million claimed sales. She was the headline act of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, performing a medley of her biggest hits including What’s My Name, Only Girl in the World, Run This Town and Umbrella. With a 65% popularity rating on YouGov, it is clear that she is currently one of the most popular music artists in the UK. 

2. Arctic Monkeys

At number 2 we have the Arctic Monkeys. The band formed in Sheffield in 2002, so they have been going for a long time. With a 68% popularity rating on YouGov, it’s obvious that many Brits enjoy their mix of indie rock, post-Britpop and many other styles. So much so that Vice described the band as (probably) the UK’s biggest, most culturally important band. 

1. Adele

Finally, at number 1, the most popular music artist for millennials in the UK right now is Adele. She has a 69% popularity rating. That means that basically 7 out of 10 people in the whole country have a positive opinion of the north London-born singer, which is incredible. Her fusion of soul, R&B and jazz has produced countless hits both in the UK and across the world. 

Who do Gen Z listen to?

10. Kanye West

Maybe one of the most controversial celebs around; Kanye West still performs well among Gen Z-ers. From divorcing Kim K to ‘marrying’ Bianca Censori, he’s always at the forefront of drama. But whether you like him or not, he’s no doubt influential. Oh and he’s got some of the best songs around when it comes to well-need motivation to get through studying.

9. Taylor Swift

most popular music artist gen z millennials

Speaking of Kanye controversy – remember that time he totally ambushed Taylor Swift’s award acceptance? Well at least Swift has one over on him here – she’s the 9th most popular music artist for Gen Z listeners, while Kanye is in 10th position! Taylor Swift fans – Swifties – are loyal and continue to grow!

8. Doja Cat

Gen Z’s affinity for Doja Cat can be attributed to her unique blend of pop, rap, and electronic music. Her catchy hooks, quirky visuals, and unapologetic personality have made her a standout artist among her peers. This generation is drawn to her fearless experimentation with different sounds and style.

7. Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne, a veteran rapper with a distinctive voice and lyrical flair, has remained popular with Generation Z, even as his career spans over two decades. His wordplay, creativity, and commitment to pushing the boundaries of rap music have ensured his continued relevance in a constantly changing musical landscape. He’s the 7th most popular music artist among Generation Z, which is quite impressive.

6. Eminem

This one actually surprised us. Eminem arguably released more top tracks during the time Millennials grew up, however it seems he’s more popular with Gen Z listeners. His openness about his personal struggles and perseverance in the face of adversity have made him an inspirational figure for many in this age group.

5. Juice Wrld

Juice Wrld sadly passed away in 2019, but his musical legacy lives on. The late rapper rose to prominence with his emo-tinged rap style, creating tracks like Lucid Dreams and Bandit. These have clearly left an indelible mark on Generation Z, being the 5th most listened to artist.

4. None

Not too much to say here, but basically data pulled to create this research found that the fourth most listened to artist is actually ones that have no identity. On Spotify or different platforms, music often gets uploaded with no specified artist. This may mean that Gen Z listeners love new tracks not from mainstream artists!

3. Ariana Grande

ariana grande - most popular music artist gen z

Ariana Grande’s music ranges from pop-type tracks to r’n’b ballads. She’s another one that has collaborated with almost everyone, from Lady Gaga to Justin Bieber. Her voice is undeniably good, so it’s no wonder she’s one of the most popular music artists for Gen Z-ers.

2. BTS

most popular music artist gen z

South Korean boy band BTS has taken the world by storm, kind of like the boybands and girlbands from the 90s. They’ve capturing the hearts of Generation Z with their infectious music, captivating performances, and socially conscious lyrics. Their powerful messages about self-love, mental health, and societal issues resonate with this generation, contributing to their immense global success.

1. Drake

The most popular contemporary artist listened to by Gen Z music lovers is Drake. The rapper and singer is known for his catchy beats and collaborations – he seems to have worked with everyone! From Rhianna to Beyonce, to Jay Z and DJ Khaled, his vocals have played in the background of so many great tracks.

So, to sum up, these 10 artists are currently the 10 most popular music artists for Millennials and Generation Z.

Most popular music artists for Gen Z 

  1. Drake
  2. BTS
  3. Ariana Grande
  4. None
  5. Juice Wrld
  6. Eminem
  7. Lil Wayne
  8. Doja Cat
  9. Taylor Swift
  10. Kanye West

Most popular music artists for Millennials

  1. Adele
  2. Arctic Monkeys
  3. Rhianna
  4. Beyonce
  5. Coldplay
  6. Gorillaz
  7. Alicia Keys
  8. Lewis Capaldi
  9. The Killers
  10. Florence and the Machine

It’s surprising to see how the most popular artists among the younger generations were pretty famous around the time Millennials grew up. However, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Drake and co are still going strong with huge fan bases today.

So, which generation do you most resonate with based on the most popular music artists – Gen Z or Millennials?