LONDON   -  Ed Sheeran was the most-played artist in the UK in 2018 - without releasing any new music.

Topping the chart for the second year in a row and third year in total, the singer-songwriter finished ahead of Calvin Harris in second and Little Mix in third.

His last official single release in the UK was the multiplatinum-selling Perfect, the 2017 Christmas number one. Sheeran has topped the PPL chart for two years in a row Sheeran, famous for hits including Shape Of You, Photograph and Sing, has held the top spot in three of the last four years - 2015, 2017 and 2018 and has been in the top five most-played artists five times since his first album was released in 2011. The chart is compiled by music licensing company PPL, which counts each play an artist receives from broadcasters and in public places such as pubs and shops.

Nine of the top 10 most-played artists of 2018 were British, with George Ezra and Coldplay - who also had a break from releasing music in 2018 all making the list