How Eurovision 2024 is Pointing to Streaming

Europe's Eurovision Song Contest has developed a symbiotic relationship with the internet and streaming services, enabling rewards for those artists brave enough to subject themselves to all of the joyful madness.

How Eurovision 2024 is Pointing to Streaming
Jon O'Brien
Jon O'Brien
May 15, 20248 min read
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The weird and wonderful world of Eurovision is no longer a one-night-only affair. Since the inaugural contest way back in 1956, the musical feast has launched the careers of ABBA, Celine Dion, and, more recently, Måneskin. It used to enter the European consciousness for only one Saturday evening each May, but since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, the four-hour extravaganza has turned into a week-long spectacle. Even more significantly, the internet age has allowed fans across the world to familiarize themselves with every bombastic key change, shoehorned-in dance break, and lost-in-translation lyric months in advance.  

Indeed, Eurovision season now starts from the moment the first song is announced, which in this year’s case was France’s “Mon amour” by Slimane back in November. By the time the first semi kicked off at the Malmö Arena on May 7, the track had already racked up an impressive 23.5 million Spotify streams. In fact, basically all 37 entries — even the last to be confirmed (“Özünlə Apar” by Azerbaijan’s Fahree and Ilkin Dovlatov in mid-March) — had over a million Spotify streams at this point, and the remaining few reached that milestone before the contest ended. 

Artists are getting the kind of numbers most mainstream acts would be proud of, too. The most streamed entry this year was Italy’s Angelina Mango, which accrued 65.1 million Spotify streams with the infectious cumbia of “La Noia.” Netherlands’ Joost Klein wasn’t too far behind with 59.4 million for the curious mix of Dutch hardcore, Europop, and pro-EU sentiments that is “Europapa.” And feminist statement “ZORRA” by Spain’s Nebulossa, The Weeknd-does-trance banger “Unforgettable” by Sweden’s Marcus & Martinus, and hip-pop hybrid “Teresa & Maria” by Ukraine’s Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil have all reached figures over ten million as well, in addition to a handful of others.

With interest in Eurovision continuing to grow – although previously ignored by America, the contest has gradually built up a loyal following here since it debuted on Logo in 2016 and was livestreamed this year for American fans on NBC’s Peacock – the artist reveals have naturally had a significant impact on their Spotify monthly listenership. Baby Lasagna had only a few thousand before the techno/emo mash-up of “Rim Tim Tagi Dim” was selected to represent Croatia: by the time he graced Eurovision’s famous opening ceremony turquoise carpet on May 5, he had nearly 500k! Other previous unknowns who enjoyed similar gargantuan leaps from barely any listeners to significant numbers included Lithuania’s Silvester Belt, Finland’s Windows95Man, and Fahree.

Those who could already boast significant listenerships saw their numbers go through the roof. Mango, who’d previously had two Top 10 hits in her native Italy, achieved the second biggest increase since the start of the year, doubling her audience from 2.12 million Spotify monthly listeners to 4.2 million. In total, eight entrants added at least a million to their tallies as well. 

Spotify itself can help an act reach a wider audience. With 37 songs to discover, those in the first half of its official 2024 playlist inevitably received more attention from its over one million followers than the second half, when Eurovision fatigue may well have set in. It’s little surprise its final two tracks, Moldova’s “In the Middle” by Natalia Barbu and Iceland’s “Scared of Heights” by Hera Björk, were two of the last to pass the million-streams figure.  

And Spotify’s curators have also helped boost certain tracks thanks to their inclusions on other major official playlists. “Mon amour,” for instance, features on Hits Du Moment and Grand Hit, both of which have more than a monthly million followers. Likewise, Hot Hits Italia which features “La Noia.” And “Before the Party’s Over” by Belgium’s Mustii, "The Code” by Switzerland’s Nemo, and “Dizzy” by the United Kingdom’s newly solo Olly Alexander have even crossed over to U.S. playlists, with all three featured on GLOW, which has over one million followers.  

Of course, there are many external factors at play when it comes to the disparity in streaming numbers, too. The majority of each act’s listeners will inevitably come from their home country – a whopping 83% of Mango’s hail from Italy, for example. Therefore, those representing the most populated nations will inevitably have a headstart on the smaller. It’s no coincidence the UK, France, Spain, and Ukraine were also in the Top 10 most streamed (pre-contest). Likewise, it makes sense that Iceland, Luxembourg’s “Fighter” by TALI, and Malta’s “Loop” by Sarah Bonnici were in the bottom six.  

Several countries have a rich Eurovision heritage which ensures their chosen entry immediately becomes part of their pop-cultural landscape: certain national selections such as Sweden’s Melodifestivalen, Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, and Spain’s Benidorm Fest are arguably just as big in their respective nations as Eurovision itself. And six of the Top 10 most streamed had already reached number one back home, including Belt’s “Luktelk,” and “Zari” by Greece’s Marina Satti. Then there are the artists whose large established fan bases will instantly gravitate toward any new material. Slimane has a remarkable 85 songs that have been streamed at least one million times, with his most popular track about to hit 100 million. And, Marcus & Martinus and Klein are fast catching up, each having around 60 songs hitting the one million mark. 

It’s not just on Spotify where the Eurovision effect can be seen, though. “Dizzy” and “Unforgettable” have pushed Olly Alexander – whose total also includes his work with electro-pop trio Years and Years – and Sweden’s twin brothers, respectively, even further into YouTube’s one-billion-views club. The latter are certainly the most social media-savvy of this year’s lot, having amassed a remarkable 213 million likes and five million followers on TikTok even before participating in Melodifestivalen. And like The Voice: La plus belle voix winner Slimane, they’d already achieved a million Instagram followers, too.

So, was there any correlation between these figures and what actually happened at the contest itself? Well, of the 11 countries eliminated in the semi-finals, eight were in Spotify’s 10 least streamed, with Australia’s “One Milkali (One Blood)” by Electric Fields, Czechia’s “Pedestal” by Aiko, San Marino’s “11:11” by Megara, and Albania’s “Titan” by Besa joining Moldova, Azerbaijan, Iceland, and Malta on the plane home. Denmark’s “SAND” by SABA (23rd most streamed with 3.5 million) and Belgium (18th with 6.6 million) will be disappointed they didn’t convert their online presence to audience votes. However, the biggest outlier was “The Tower” by Poland’s LUNA, which despite racking up 6.7 million streams (17th), still failed to progress — even though at one point during the competition it was the 12th most streamed song.

And in the final, six of the 10 highest point-getters were also in Spotify’s 10 most streamed (this figure would almost certainly have been seven had Klein not been disqualified at the last minute). Switzerland, of course, won on the night, receiving a total of 591 points. But if we look solely at where the public have their say — the televote half of the scores — then their 226 points ranked them fifth, two places higher than their streaming position (seventh with 16 million streams). Overall runners-up Croatia were the audience favorites, picking up 337 points. But "Rim Tim Tagi Dim” had even less streams than "The Code” on Spotify: 13.3 million, putting them in ninth. 

The biggest outperformer was undoubtedly “Jako” by Armenia’s world music duo Ladaniva (Spotify 24th/televote ninth). However, the most significant was achieved by this year’s most controversial entry. “Hurricane” by Israel’s Eden Golan finished 11th on Spotify (8.2 million), but placed second in the televote, a result which will do little to dispel the notion that Eurovision is “all about the politics.”

Italy’s Mango may have been expecting to finish higher than seventh on the televote, considering “la noia” is by far this year’s most streamed entry. Likewise with Spain’s Nebulossa, who was fifth on Spotify but only 22nd with TV audiences. But it’s the UK’s Alexander who will be wondering where it all went wrong. “Dizzy” was 13th on Spotify’s list (8 million streams), yet finished rock bottom on the televote with the dreaded nul points. Did its unashamedly homoerotic staging deter some of Europe’s more conservative viewers? Or was this proof that high streams are no guarantee of on-the-night success?  

Nevertheless, all artists, whether they took home the iconic glass microphone trophy or failed to qualify from the semis, will continue to enjoy social media and streaming boosts well into the summer. Spotify’s Eurovision 2023 playlist only peaked in followers in July, a full two months after Loreen scored her record-equaling second victory. And within just two days of the May 11 grand final, the 2024 version — now reordered to replicate the results order — had already attracted an additional 53k followers.

As you’d expect, having made headline news across the world for storming to victory, Nemo has also seen a major uptick. “The Code” was streamed 814k times in the 24 hours after their win and then an even more impressive 1.08 million times the day after. In the same period, their finals performance racked up 11 million YouTube views, while their victory lap rendition got 1.8 million. Add their semi-qualification (3.28 million) and official video (7.4 million), and that’s a lot of eyeballs and eardrums on their literal balancing act.  

Echoing their close results on the night, Croatia has achieved a similar boost in streams (818k) since finishing just 44 points behind Switzerland, while their anthemic finals performance was the second most-watched with 5 million. Interestingly, though, the Eurovision track to receive the biggest jump in Spotify streams was the one that didn’t get to compete. Yes, proving that all publicity is good publicity, the furor surrounding Klein’s dismissal appeared to immediately entice more than 1.69 million listeners to see what all the fuss was about, and then another 2.92 million the following day.

It will be interesting to see how the eccentric Dutchman bounces back. But, several of this year’s entrants are wasting little time in striking while the iron is hot. Mango releases her debut LP, Poké melodrama, at the end of May, while Dons will celebrate Latvia’s first qualification since 2016 with his tenth studio effort, Laiks, arriving in August. Aiko and Serbia’s Teya, meanwhile, have already started capitalizing on their momentum with a new duet, “Hunger,” that’s racked up 147k streams.  

Indeed, while most previous Eurovision entrants — even the runaway winners — fell back into obscurity within a month, artists now have much more opportunity to maintain, and indeed build on, the percentage of 160 million viewers they first hooked in with a three-minute ditty. Just ask the Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence, who hit the Hot 100 with “Arcade” two years after it won in 2019, or Armenia’s Rosa Linn, whose “Snap” finished a lowly 20th in 2022, yet thanks to the power of TikTok has since become only the second Eurovision song ever to achieve one billion Spotify streams.  

So if you thought you’d heard the last of Finland’s thong-wearing, firework-spurting Windows95Man, Ireland’s ‘ouija-pop’ pagan witch Bambie Thug, or Estonia’s hip-hop/nu-folk supergroup 5MIINUST and Puuluup, they’re likely to keep casually sliding into your New Music Fridays until at least the next Eurovision circus rolls up in Zurich 2025 — whether you like it or not.  

Visualizations by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado. Data as of May 14, 2024 (including Spotify stream counts used throughout the article).