Bohemian Rhapsody Is Officially The Most Streamed Song Of The 20th Century
Whether its politics, religion, fashion, food (besides pizza), philosophy and high literature, people don't often agree on a lot of things. But a lot of folks agree on one thing: "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a great song. While that wasn't always universally felt, as it was chronicled in Bohemian Rhapsody, the film that shared the iconic song's name, it has since been accepted as the masterpiece of a song that it is. And now, it's official. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the most streamed song of the 20th century. It's a well-earned distinction, and it's one that people will likely find agreeable.
To be more specific, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" has surpassed 1.6 billion (!) streams globally -- which is no small feat, by any responsible measure. The total was calculated based on the number of listens to the song, as well as the high number of views to the song's famous music video.
With this newfound ranking, "Bohemian Rhapsody" overtakes distinguished classic rock singles like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child O'Mine," among several others. While it was already doing well for itself in the decades since its famous debut, it was given a boost thanks to Universal, who made sure the song was available on a variety of music streaming services. According to The New York Post, the high-streaming achievement was definitely helped by being available on a variety of streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.
The success of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is considered an underdog story of sorts. While Queen was well-established as a best-selling and stadium-filling band by then, the six-minute ballad was considered unorthodox and therefore uncommercial. Some producers worried it wouldn't be played on the radio unless it was condensed or recontextualized. But the band stood their ground, keeping it the way it is heard today. The decision obviously paid off in the end, big time. It's widely considered one of the greatest rock songs in the history of the genre, and it continues to be rightfully acclaimed.
There is no doubt that this accomplishment was benefitted by the recent release of Bohemian Rhapsody. While the movie received mixed reviews, it did well commercially. The musical biopic has made $173.7 million domestically and it has earned a whopping $596.3 million worldwide. Furthermore, it helped to re-introduce the already-ubiquitous operatic rock band into the public conscious, including to a younger generation only moderately familiar with the group before. Now, it's set to become the highest-grossing musical biopic ever -- particularly as it inches closer to $600 million worldwide.
People will continue to be at odds about any number of things. But we can (almost) all agree: Queen's most famous song still kicks a whole lot of ass.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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