June 20, 2018 / 4:57 PM

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Eminem, The Killers and Linkin Park Top New Spotify Timeless Music List



Using data from Spotify, a new publication called Polygraph has visualized the music that has stood the test of time. These streaming music playcounts can give us insight and actual numerical backing to long held debates such as Notorious B.I.G. vs. Tupac Shakur or the validity of Linkin Park as a lasting band in the annals of history as the band's hit song "Numb" comes in at No. 3 on a list of most played songs on Spotify after Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and The Killer's "Mr. Brightside."

The article tackles a series of questions, each with its own supporting interactive graphic that'll have you toying with the numbers for hours. Of course this data isn't exactly rock solid. First of all Spotify users tend to be in their mid-20s, thus not representative of the whole public. There are also some notable artists missing from Spotify's catalog including The Beatles and Taylor Swift. Still, with 20 million paid subscribers and another 55 million free tier users for a combined 75 million listeners, Spotify's data can certainly give us some insight into what music is standing the test of time.

So what do we learn? The first is that Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is by far the most listened to song from the '90s despite a relatively low ranking on the Billboard charts the year it came out, reaching a peak position of No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and finishing the year out at No. 42 out of 385 hit songs in 1991. All of this data seems to follow this trend. Just because you have a high charting song, doesn't mean it will stay in the hearts and minds of music lovers over time.

As far as B.I.G. vs Shakur goes, it looks like B.I.G. comes out the winner, at least in terms of millennial playcounts. "Juicy," "Hypnotize" and "Big Poppa" made the list of top 10 rap hits between 1986 and 1999. Tupac's "Dear Mamma" is the highest played track for the legendary artist and comes in several million plays below B.I.G.'s top hits. Of course, numbers don't take into account critical acclaim or lyrical prowess.

Other charts compare playcounts against which songs were No. 1 hits that year and which songs won GRAMMY awards. Spoiler alert, the GRAMMY winners are rarely the most popular. You can also see the trajectory of 2013 hits and how their popularity has waned over time. However, some songs such as One Republic's "Counting Stars" have actually gained popularity since its initial release.

See the list of top 25 songs from all decades based on Spotify playcount below or visit the website yourself and get sucked into the data.

1. "Lose Yourself"  - Eminem, 2002 - 59,039,765

2. "Mr. Brightside" - Killers The, 2005 - 54,367,533

3. "Numb" - Linkin Park, 2003 - 52,969,898

4. "Don't Stop Believin'" - Journey, 1981 - 50,855,135

5. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Nirvana, 1991 - 50,657,282

6. "In The End" - Linkin Park, 2001 - 43,025,894

7. "Hey Ya!" - OutKast, 2003 - 41,296,582

8. "Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson, 1983 - 40,732,708

9. "Seven Nation Army" - White Stripes The, 2003 - 39,559,321

10. "Fix You" - Coldplay, 2005 - 38,912,539

11. "Californication" - Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2000 - 38,190,230

12. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey, 2000 - 36,253,472

13. "Mockingbird" - Eminem, 2005 - 36,065,242

14. "Iris" - Goo Goo Dolls, 1998 - 35,669,952

15. "Wonderwall" - Oasis, 1996 - 34,352,877

16. "Eye Of The Tiger" - Survivor, 1982 - 34,225,439

17. "Under The Bridge" - Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1992 - 33,625,240

18. "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" - Green Day, 2004 - 32,343,283

19. "Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen, 1975 - 32,298,690

20. "Crazy In Love" - Beyonce, 2003 - 32,150,597

21. "Gold Digger" - Kanye West, 2005 - 32,113,198

22. "Fast Car" - Tracy Chapman, 1988 - 32,092,736

23. "The Next Episode" - Dr. Dre, 2000 - 31,793,183

24. "No Diggity" - Blackstreet, 1996 - 30,911,317

25. "Come As You Are" - Nirvana, 1992 - 30,368,401

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