Is Glastonbury Getting Better or Worse?

A recent post on this site (See here) tried to analyse whether Ireland’s national festival, Electric Picnic, had gotten better or worse in terms of the size of it’s headlining acts. The article seemed of interest to quite a few people judging by the number of views it got so I said I would conduct a similar analysis on the Glastonbury festival on the other side of the pond in England.

For this analysis I looked at the three headliners for Glastonbury’s pyramid stage for each festival from 2014-2019 and added up the total number of monthly listeners each headlining act had and used that as a measure of the size of the festival for that year. The results can be seen in the below graph:

Glasto Headliner's Monthly listeners on Spotify

Unfortunately for this years festival it seems to have dipped from the most recent festival in 2017 (there was no festival in 2018). The 2019 festival headliner’s (Stormzy, The Killers, and The Cure) have a total of 22,221,200 monthly listeners on Spotify, whereas in 2017 Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Ed Sheeran racked up a total of 57,121,367 monthly Spotify listeners. That means the festival declined in size of headlining acts at the rate of -0.61% this year.

What’s more cause for concern is that not only has the size of the headlining acts for Glastonbury fallen in comparison to it’s previous festivals, it’s also fallen relative to the headlining acts of other festivals this year. Take the Electric Picnic festival in Ireland for example, it’s headlining acts this year have a combined 30,737,442 monthly Spotify listeners in comparison to Glastonbury’s 22,221,200 (see graph below).

EP vs Glastonbury

Although to be fair to Glastonbury, the festival’s acts had been increasing year on year since 2014 so maybe it was due a decrease. It’s also worth noting that this analysis only takes into account the three headlining acts, and not every other act at the festival. If the study included every act at the festival I’m guessing Glastonbury would leave Electric Picnic in the dust; and all other things aside, I’m just happy to see Glastonbury back from it’s fallow year.

By Daragh O’Leary

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