Snow Patrol named the most played Northern Irish act of the 21st century

PPL charts the most played Northern Irish acts of the 21st century

  • To coincide with the Northern Irish Music Prize on 11 November, music licensing organisation PPL has produced a chart of the most played Northern Irish acts of the 21st century. 
  • Van Morrison and Feargal Sharkey complete the top three at number two and number three respectively.


London 9 November 2017 – To coincide with the fifth annual Northern Irish Music Prize this Saturday 11 November, music licensing organisation PPL has produced a chart counting down the most played Northern Irish acts of the 21st century.  PPL is a sponsor of the award, which celebrates the best in new Northern Irish music and forms part of the Sound of Belfast programme of live events and industry conventions (2 – 11 November) and will be held at the city’s Mandela Hall.

Snow Patrol take the number one spot having enjoyed a 23 year career and hits songs including ‘Chocolate’, ‘Chasing Cars’ and ‘Run’, a top five UK smash in 2003.  Although formed at the University of Dundee in 1994, four of the band’s current five members originally hail from Northern Ireland. 

Van Morrison and Feargal Sharkey fronted Northern Irish bands Them and The Undertones respectively, before going on to achieve success as solo artists in their own right.  They both make an appearance in the top three with Van Morrison at number two and Sharkey at number three.  Them appear at number eight in the chart and The Undertones, a band famed for writing and recording John Peel’s favourite song ‘Teenage Kicks’ appear one place after them at number nine.

Pop-punk stalwarts Ash make number four in the chart with a career spanning 53 singles and six studio albums, whilst Neil Hannon’s long-standing baroque-pop outfit The Divine Comedy appear at number six.  Their latest album release ‘Foreverland’ is one of the albums in contention for this year’s Northern Irish Music Prize.   

Belfast-born electronic musician and producer David Holmes also makes the chart at number seven with several pieces of his music being used in television including 2014’s three-part BBC drama ‘The Fall’ and 2016’s ‘London Spy’, for which he won an Ivor Novello Award for the score.  The late former Thin Lizzy and Skid Row guitarist Gary Moore then completes the chart at number ten, famed for his expressive and emotional playing style.

This year’s Northern Irish Music Prize ceremony will take place on 11 November at the Mandela Hall in Belfast and will be supported by PPL.

The most played Northern Irish acts of the 21st century

1.)  Snow Patrol

2.)  Van Morrison

3.)  Feargal Sharkey

4.)  Ash

5.)  Two Door Cinema Club

6.)  The Divine Comedy

7.)  David Holmes

8.)  Them

9.)  The Undertones

10.) Gary Moore

*Based on PPL data from 2000 to 2017

Lynne McDowell, Head of Communications at PPL, who will also be presenting the award to the winner on the night said, “This most played list really serves as a reminder of how many great artists Northern Ireland has produced over the years.  From heritage artists like Van Morrison and The Undertones to newer acts like Two Door Cinema Club, the local scene is clearly in rude health, as is exemplified by the quality of the artists nominated for this year’s Northern Irish Music Prize.  Best of luck to everyone nominated on Saturday.”

Charlotte Dryden, CEO of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast commented: “The Northern Irish Music Prize provides an annual platform to recognise the excellent albums being released from Northern Ireland. It is the mission of the Oh Yeah Music Centre to promote Northern Irish music and the impact it can have on a global scale, from our most successful names through to the best of emerging talent. PPL’s chart of the most played Northern Irish acts shows just how much of an influence our most celebrated names are having well into the 21st Century. Snow Patrol and many of the artists here have been hugely supportive of Oh Yeah and the local music scene; they have given back on many occasions and they continue to inspire new generations coming through. We're delighted to be working with PPL on the Prize this year and we love that the 12 shortlisted acts range from debut records through to continued brilliance.”

The most played Northern Irish act chart is based on PPL data from UK radio and TV broadcasters covering the period 2000 to 2017.  Both the number of plays and total played duration are used to rank the tracks in the charts.



For further information or interviews, please contact:

Clive Drew, PPL 0207 534 1262 / 07703 729095   /

Or visit: / @ppluk

About PPL

Founded in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s collective management organisation (CMO) for tens of thousands of performers and record companies.  We license recorded music in the UK when it is played in public (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices etc.) or broadcast (BBC, commercial radio, commercial TV etc.) and ensure that revenue flows back to our members.  These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and influential festival headliners. 

PPL has a market-leading international collections business, with 84 agreements in place across 40 countries, helping members to maximise their revenue when their repertoire is played overseas.  We collected £212 million in the UK and internationally in 2016 and paid over 92,000 performers and record companies.