Streaming Masters – U2

U2 - streaming statistics

Since the beginning of the 80s, U2 is one of the biggest rock band on the planet and has released a lot of classic albums of songs. Is their status of rock icon also visible through their streaming numbers?

PS: Updated on September 18, 2021. These values are used for automatic update of artist and albums total instead of those from CSPC analysis.

U2 streaming review – the method

Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology now includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube.

To factor in the growing impact of multiple Asian countries where these platforms aren’t always the go-to site for music streaming, more sources have been added.

In order to account for their real popularity in each relevant country, the below sources have been used along with the mentioned ratios that reflect the market share of each area.

Audio Streams
– South Korea : Genie streams * 3.05 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan : AWA streams * 100/5.5 (AWA has 5.5% of the Japanese streaming market)– Elsewhere : Spotify streams * (370 – 8.5 – 9.5 – 33 – 9) / 207 (370 million global subscribers minus 8.5 million from South Korea minus 9.5 million from Japan minus 33 million from China divided by the number of Spotify only users minus 9 million more Asian users) + Genie streams * 3.05 (uses Genie rather than Spotify to extrapolate markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)

Video Streams– China* : QQ video streams * 50 if the song is available for audio stream, QQ video streams * 5 elseway (scale built based on known figures for several major artists)– Elsewhere : Youtube views

*since 96.4% of Chinese streaming platforms are free users, that paid-for users pay less than $2 a month and that they are also used as video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted on par with YouTube streams.

Audio Stream value – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit

Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * 310/207 + Genie * 3.05*2 + AWA * 100/5.5 ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube ) / 11750

U2 streaming review – the results

CSPC U2 streaming discography numbers Spotify YouTube

Total: 5,208,141 EAS

U2: Most streamed tracks (EAS)

1. With Or Without You [The Joshua Tree]671,000
2. One [Achtung Baby]446,000
3. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For [The Joshua Tree]433,000
4. Beautiful Day [All That You Can’t Leave Behind]358,000
5. Sunday Bloody Sunday [War]251,000
6. XXX [Orphan]180,000
7. Pride (in The Name Of Love) [The Unforgettable Fire]166,000
8. Where The Streets Have No Name [The Joshua Tree]158,000
9. Vertigo [How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb]96,000
10. Sweetest Thing [The Joshua Tree]86,000
11. You’re the Best Thing About Me [Songs of Experience]86,000
12. New Year’s Day [War]82,000
13. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of [All That You Can’t Leave Behind]80,000
14. Every Breaking Wave [Songs of Innocence]75,000
15. Song for Someone [Songs of Innocence]61,000
16. Mysterious Ways [Achtung Baby]56,000
17. All I Want Is You [Rattle and Hum]55,000
18. Bad [The Unforgettable Fire]54,000
19. Elevation [All That You Can’t Leave Behind]53,000
20. City Of Blinding Lights [How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb]52,000

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Johnny be Good

Pretty surprised that All That You Can’t Leave Behind has aged so well, much better than I’d expected. Overall however, as others point out, those numbers are not bad at all but not as high as you’d expect to be considering their past popularity and commercial success. I think they should do some move to improve their appeal to newer generations like, p.e. a biopic


I believe it needs to be corrected in the U2 CSPC article Songs Of Experience which is 330,631 EAS while on the other page it is 299,000 EAS


Half decent but nothing to write home about. Looks like only With or Without You, One, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Beautiful Day have any kind of traction now. U2 appear to be the rock equivalent of Madonna in terms of lasting popularity and streaming. Massive in their day but not much lasting appeal it seems. Maybe I’m being unfair…


U2’s spotify streams (4.9B) are actually on par with other top-selling bands like The Rolling Stones (5.6B) and Led Zeppelin (4.6B). All three of these bands make quite different sounding music so I don’t think the Madonna/pop comparison is really valid here.


Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti U2 by any stretch. I think Achtung Baby is one of the bestcalbums of the 90s.

I take your point and it’s a valid response. I would only argue that the Stones have a slightly larger discography and were having hits/were culturally relevant 10 to 20 years before U2 perhaps making their streaming figures a little more impressive. Likewise, Led Zeppelin have a smaller discography and haven’t released any new material in decades so again it is arguable that perhaps their results are more impressive. All a matter of opinion though…


I see your point, too. They are the newest of the three bands I mentioned, and their music is the most pop/light rock of them as well.


Led Zeppelin and the Stones’ streaming numbers are way more impressive than U2’s, when it comes to streaming the age of the music has to be considered, I think Metallica would be a better comparison : 7b vs. 4.5b for U2, even though at the time U2 were much more successful.


U2 has been in a perpetual state of backlash since the late 80’s. Whether it was their arrogance in the Rattle and Hum era; radically changing their sound and image with Achtung Baby; pushing irony so far up their own asses on Pop; “selling out” with All that You Can’t Leave Behind; Bono’s political activism in the 00’s (just being overexposed for that whole decade); not being experimental enough in No Line On the Horizon; or the itunes disaster of 2014. They were never bigger than The Beatles, The Stones, Queen or MJ; and they haven’t got a recent bump… Read more »


Plenty of artists encountered the “backlash” you’re talking about, I mentioned Metallica above… I just think most people would expect U2 to be above, say, David Bowie, someone who had way less success than they had before the streaming era.

I’m not saying they’re doing horrible, just that considering the amount of success and praise they garnered over their career (180m albums sold, 22 grammy awards, more than any other band), it seems fair to qualify their streaming numbers as underwhelming.


I was going to mention Bowie in my previous comment. He did get one of those bumps I mentioned when he died. If I remember correctly, he reached the top 25 most listened artist on Spotify (right now he’s at #265). He also broke Adele’s record for the most views for an act on VEVO in 24 hours. Now, I’m going to also bring up Mariah Carey, another legacy artist that has more streams than U2. Both of them have each one song that I consider an anomaly. Under Pressure and All I Want for Christmas Is You. Those songs… Read more »


You’re right about Under Pressure, so let’s say his “real” total is more like 4 billion, vs. U2’s 4.5 billion. But here’s the thing : the vast majority of Bowie’s streams concerns his 70s music while U2 have, for example, 600m streams for their 2014-2017 albums, or 500m for their 2000 album, with their peak being obviously the 87-91 albums. I think U2’s 2014-2017 albums shouldn’t be considered here, so we have a 70s artist with 4b streams and a (basically) 90s band with 4b streams, a band who sold twice more albums than the 70s artist. Again, I think… Read more »


In this way of thinking, they both are similarly succesful on Spotify as Oasis.


Sure, I would say U2 and Oasis have a similar level of popularity today. I would also say Bowie is significantly more popular, considering his music is much older and therefore disadvantaged when it comes to streaming numbers.

Sacha Gera

Well articulated. I think u2’s legacy and success is better reflected from their touring … they are the biggest touring artist of the last two decades … if you add the 80-90s touring … it would be interesting to see how they rank against the stones…not sure if anyone does it better than them. It will be interesting to see if they get a bump from the movie sing2 in December onwards – who knows, maybe the kids will rediscover them. I still enjoy their new music. Achtung baby is my favourite though. I can’t wait to see them live… Read more »


I agree that as far as touring goes there are not many artists that can sell out stadiums at whim they way U2 can. They are at the cutting edge of what is possible live. They signpost the way for other acts in this respect. For my money Zoo TV was the greatest rock show ever staged given the era they toured it. To have seen that in 92/93 must have been mind-blowing.

JUAN Cristobal Guzman

Thanks. Great info


Hello guys !!

there is a discrepancy between this page and the CSPC U2 page; in the first place the total on one side is 5,208,141 EAS and in the other it is 5,297,000 EAS; then secondly while on this page the album War and The Unforgettable fire are respectively at 364.238 EAS and 283.960 EAS; on the other page they are 321,000 EAS and 239,000 EAS, I would like to know why there are these differences; maybe there are errors?
I hope some of you will answer me, thanks.