The star is due to release an album of collaborations later this year

Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK last year, while Feel It Still by Portugal The Man was 2018’s most-played song.

Sheeran topped the chart despite not releasing new music; and without an entry in the Top 10 most-played tracks, suggesting his entire catalogue of hits remains on rotation on the radio.

It’s the third time in four years that he’s been the UK’s most-played artist.

Calvin Harris came second and Little Mix were third.

The data was compiled by music royalty body PPL, which monitors the music played on TV and radio; and in pubs and clubs.

It illustrates how some songs achieve a long after-life on radio, months after they stop jostling for position in the official Top 40.

Portugal The Man’s feel-good hit Feel It Still was originally released in 2017; but still garnered enough plays to become the biggest radio hit of the year.

Meanwhile, Pink’s What About Us made the top 10 for the second year in a row – a feat that has only ever been achieved once before, by Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger in 2011 and 2012.

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