From ‘Old Town Road’ to ‘Sweet but Psycho’: The 25 Most-Consumed Songs of 2019

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2019 and the horse it rode in on — or the horse that dominated the conversation for the better part of the year, at least: Lil Nas X’s. If, 12 months ago, anyone had told us the coming year would be defined by a gay black man peddling country tropes, an all-shapes-and-sizes glorifying soul shouter and a critically acclaimed waif who felt like Kate Bush reincarnated into a rock ’n’ roll high school… we’d have wondered whether all those new pot shops were lacing their product with something stronger than the law allows. But here’s something we did all see coming: the continuing trend of increasing consumption numbers that music executives only dreamed about just a decade ago, and a healthy ecosystem that breeds fresh superstar anomalies as well as bread-and-butter pop smashes. 

As our Hitmaker of the Year and six-time Grammy nominee Billie Eilish tells it, the sound of 2019 is “pretty genre-less. This year has been about accepting and/or just being open to new stuff that doesn’t necessarily have a specific sound.” Adds her producer-brother Finneas: “There aren’t a lot of sound-alikes this year. Even the top five that we were in for a minute, where it was ‘Bad Guy,’ ‘Old Town Road,’ ‘Señorita’ and ‘Truth Hurts’  — those are pretty different songs, right?” 

Yes, and with pretty different teams behind them, too, but just about all sharing a talent for turning the slightly peculiar into the monumentally popular. The sonic diversity of 2019 owes a lot to the executives working in A&R, publishing, management, promotion, marketing and commerce, each a vital part of a pop ecosystem that feels healthier and more exciting than it has in maybe decades. Here’s to the creatives and execs who fed us hits so memorable that the world will still be grooving to some of them when Lil Nas has bought his farm and Billie Eilish is deep into her dotage.

1. Old Town Road Lil Nas X 6,744,589 Columbia
2. Sunflower Swae Lee, Post Malone 5,199,511 Interscope-Republic
3. Wow Post Malone 4,358,915 Republic
4. 7 Rings Ariana Grande 3,997,690 Republic
5. Bad Guy Billie Eilish 3,676,216 Darkroom/Interscope
6. Middle Child J. Cole 3,559,709 Dreamville/RN/Interscope
7. Truth Hurts Lizzo 3,378,540 Nice Life/Atlantic
8. Without Me Halsey 3,229,638 Capitol
9. Going Bad Meek Mill f. Drake 3,077,369 Republic-Atlantic
10. Ransom Lil Tecca 2,758,646 Republic
11. Talk Khalid 2,703,277 RCA
12. Suge Da Baby 2,615,929 SCMG/Interscope
13. Drip Too Hard Lil Baby, Gunna 2,599,795 YSL/QC/Motown/300/Capitol
14. Sicko Mode Travis Scott 2,552,661 Republic/Epic
15. Sucker Jonas Brothers 2,492,377 Republic
16. Thank U, Next Ariana Grande 2,480,997 Republic
17. Shallow Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper 2,479,873 Interscope
18. Señorita Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello 2,424,4239 Island/Epic/Republic
19. Better Khalid 2,306,955 RCA
20. Happier Marshmello f. Bastille 2,289,309 Astralwerks/Capitol
21. Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored Ariana Grande 2,258,795 Republic
22. Dancing With a Stranger Sam Smith, Normani 2,140,078 RCA-Capitol
23. High Hopes Panic! at the Disco 2,032,784 Fueled by Ramen/EMG
24. Eastside Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid 1,924,838 FKS/Interscope
25. Sweet but Psycho Ava Max 1,838,139 Atlantic
*audio streams and sales through Nov. 25; source: buzzangle music, with additional data provided by mediabase.

More Music

  • Mac Miller, Ariana GrandeAriana Grande in

    Mac Miller Producer 'Believes' That's Ariana Grande's Voice on New Album

    Since Mac Miller’s posthumous album, “Circles,” came out Friday, many fans have been convinced they heard Ariana Grande’s voice on the track “I Can See.” The late rapper’s reps responded to queries with a “no comment.” Now, his ex-girlfriend’s vocal cameo has been confirmed — or equivocally confirmed, at least — by the record’s producer, [...]

  • Mura Masa’s 'R.Y.C.': Album Review

    Mura Masa’s 'R.Y.C.': Album Review

    With his 2017 self-titled debut album, Mura Masa — a.k.a. 23-year-old Channel Islands spawn Alex Crossan — was nominated for two Grammys, including Best Dance Album, and later won one for his remix of Haim’s “Walking Away.” Guests on the album ranged from A$AP Rocky and Charli XCX to Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and Desiigner. [...]

  • Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan participates

    Executive Assistant Preparing Lawsuit Against Ousted Grammy Chief

    In the latest twist in the increasingly bitter exit of Deborah Dugan from the Recording Academy after just five months, the ousted president/CEO is about to face a lawsuit from her former assistant, Claudine Little, who has retained former Harvey Weinstein/ Charlie Walk attorney Patty Glaser to represent her, two sources tell Variety. The news was [...]

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm

    'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Music: How the Italian Tuba March Found Its Way to Larry David

    When “Curb Your Enthusiasm” returns for its much-anticipated 10th season it does so with it a musical theme that’s a prime example of recognizable sonic branding and has become synonymous with comedy in our complicated times: “Frolic” by composer Luciano Michelini. But surprisingly, this comic march for tuba, mandolin and piano wasn’t specifically written for [...]

  • Kacey Musgraves, from left, Reba McEntire,

    How a Twitter Joke About Women at Country Radio Reignited a Firestorm (Column)

    Do you remember the classic Bee Gees song that goes, “I started a joke… that started the whole world crying”? (It’s okay if you don’t.) That’s how I felt this week after realizing that a sarcastic tweet I’d typed out in a half-minute at a stoplight led to a social media firestorm, then a tempest of [...]

  • Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile backstageAmericana

    Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile Set as Dynamic Duo for Grammys

    Country legend Tanya Tucker and her producer, Brandi Carlile, will perform together on the Grammys  in one week, both singers announced on their respective social media accounts Sunday. Wrote Carlile: “Let’s. do. this.” (One of the first responses on Carlile’s Instagram came from a fellow Seattle musician, Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron: “Hell yes!”) “I wanted you [...]

  • Billie EilishiHeartRadio ALTer EGO, Show, The

    Billie Eilish, Coldplay, the Black Keys Rock iHeartRadio AlterEgo (Photos)

    iHeartRadio celebrated the alternative stars of its airwaves on Saturday night with AlterEgo, inviting the likes of Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Blink-182 and the Black Keys to Los Angeles’ the Forum. Eilish kicked off the show — a solid strategy in getting the younger set to get in on time — with hits like “Bad Guy,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content