For the first time in more than three decades, men make up the entire top 10 of Billboard’s 2017 year-end top artists chart for the United States, led by the bulletproof Ed Sheeran.
Indeed, the guys dominate completely across Billboard’s three main year-end U.S. tallies — Top Artists, Top Billboard 200 Albums and Top Billboard Hot 100 Songs (all of which cover the dates from Dec. 3, 2016, to Nov. 25, 2017). No female artist in a lead role appears in the top 10 of either of those surveys.
In the battle of the sexes, the guys were trouncing it this year. Just eight female solo performers are recognized among the top 40 of the Top Artists chart and you’d have to scroll down to No. 15 to find the first female on the list, Ariana Grande.
Since Billboard began compiling an overall top-artist category for its year-end tallies in 1981, this is only the third time the entire top 10 have been solo men or all-male acts, and the first since 1984.
Billboard’s Co-Director of Charts asks the question, “Where did all the ladies go?”
Billboard‘s Keith Caulfield crunches the numbers for the answer. The upper regions of the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts were stuffed with hip-hop music, which is typically dominated by male artists and, according to some industry sources, is wildly over-indexed over other genres on streaming services in the U.S. Also, the impact of the biggest female artists– Adele, Beyonce and Taylor Swift — were lessoned by the fact they didn’t release new albums during the chart period. The top artist chart isn’t always a male-only zone. Adele (in 2016, 2012 and 2011) and Swift (2015 and 2009) were crowned leaders of the list in recent times off the back of fresh album releases.
It’s been an immense year for Ed Sheeran in all corners of the globe. He becomes just the second British male solo act to be the year’s No. 1 artist (after the late George Michael, in 1988) thanks to his smash third album, Divide, and its hit singles, which include the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 song of the year, “Shape of You.” According to Billboard, it’s the first time Sheeran has led either year-end chart.
Sheeran has also done incredible business in Australia
His upcoming stadium tour is a record-breaker and Divide is now six-times platinum certified. During the year, “Shape Of You” logged a 15th week at No. 1 on the ARIA Singles Chart, busting the previous streak of 13 weeks set by Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” in 1995. Sheeran also became the first artist to have simultaneous debuts at No. 1 and No. 2 on the ARIA Singles Chart (with “Shape Of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” respectively) and he’s currently perched at the top with “Perfect,” his collaboration with Beyonce, which climbed to the summit in its 21st week.