Special Report

Music Artists With the Highest Approval Ratings

Ian Gavan / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

It makes sense that most of the best-selling musicians today are also well-liked by the public that buys their music. You might be surprised, however, by the results of a survey suggesting that the most popular contemporary music act of all predates its peers by a generation or more.  

To compile a list of the music artists with the highest approval ratings, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the results of a survey conducted by YouGov, an international market and data analytics website. The survey included more than 440 individual performers and groups and included more than 1,200 participants in five categories: Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1981), Millennials (1982-1999), men, and women. Participants were asked whether they “really like,” “somewhat like,” “neither like or dislike,” “somewhat dislike,” or “really dislike” each one. Artists were then ranked according to the percentage of those who expressed a positive opinion of them. 

To determine the song or songs by each artist on the list that peaked at No. 1 (if any), 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, current through mid-April 2023. (You might be surprised to learn that several of the most popular artists here are among the most popular artists who have never had a No. 1 hit.)

Click here to see the music artists with the highest approval ratings

Six of the top spots overall were held by female performers: Adele, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift. Adele, second overall, was the only performer to appear among the top five in all five groups surveyed, and was the top choice for Millennials and women. Keys, third overall, appeared in the top five in four of the groups.

As for the most popular contemporary artist…That would be the Eagles, the Southern California group that first synthesized country and rock into a mellow, polished sound in the 1970s. The six-time Grammy winners got the nod from Generation X, Baby Boomers, and men. “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)” and “Hotel California” are two of the biggest-selling albums of all time, accounting for a total of more than 35 million copies sold. And the Eagles continue to tour today. (These are the 100 best-selling pop albums of all time.)

To compile a list of the most popular contemporary music artists, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the results of a survey conducted by YouGov, an international market and data analytics website, that included more than 440 musicians. The survey was conducted using an online interview completed by more than 1,200 respondents. Respondents were shown a picture and given the name of the director and were asked to answer to what extent they like or dislike each one of them. Possible responses were “really like,” “somewhat like,” “neither like or dislike,” “somewhat dislike,” “really dislike.”

To determine the songs by each artist on the list that peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Chart data is current through the week of April 2023.

22. Fergie
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Fergie: 50%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Big Girls Don’t Cry, Glamorous (feat. Ludacris), London Bridge

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21. Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum)
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum): 51%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: None (Need You Now peaked at No. 2)

20. Maroon 5
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Maroon 5: 52% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Girls Like You, Makes Me Wonder, Moves Like Jagger (feat. Christina Aguilera), One More Night

19. Blake Shelton
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Blake Shelton: 52% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: None (Boys ’round Here [feat. Pistol Annies & Friends] peaked at No. 12)

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18. Ed Sheeran
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Ed Sheeran: 52% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Perfect, Shape of You

17. Rascal Flatts
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Rascal Flatts: 53%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: None (What Hurts the Most peaked at No. 6)

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16. Beyoncé
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Beyoncé: 54% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Baby Boy (feat. Sean Paul), Break My Soul, Check On It (feat. Slim Thug), Crazy In Love (feat. Jay-Z), Irreplaceable, Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

15. Gwen Stefani
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Gwen Stefani: 54% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Hollaback Girl

14. Selena Gomez
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Selena Gomez: 55% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Lose You to Love Me

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13. Katy Perry
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Katy Perry: 55% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: California Gurls, Dark Horse, E.T., Firework, I Kissed a Girl, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), Part of Me, Roar, Teenage Dream

12. Jennifer Hudson
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Jennifer Hudson: 56% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: None (Spotlight peaked at No. 24)

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11. John Legend
> Respondents with a positive opinion of John Legend: 56% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: All of Me

10. Steven Tyler
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Steven Tyler: 56% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing (Aerosmith)

9. Justin Timberlake
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Justin Timberlake: 56% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Can’t Stop The Feeling!, Give It To Me, My Love, SexyBack, What Goes Around…Comes Around

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8. Taylor Swift
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Taylor Swift: 57%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Shake It Off, Blank Space, All Too Well (Taylor’s Version), Anti-Hero, Bad Blood, Cardigan, Look What You Made Me Do, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Willow

7. Bruno Mars
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Bruno Mars: 58% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Grenade, Just the Way You Are, Leave the Door Open (feat. Anderson .Paak), Locked Out of Heaven, Nothin’ on You, That’s What I Like, Uptown Funk! (feat. Mark Ronson), When I Was Your Man

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6. Lady Gaga
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Lady Gaga: 58% (tie)
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Born This Way, Just Dance (feat. Colby O’Donis), Poker Face, Rain On Me (feat. Ariana Grande), Shallow (feat. Bradley Cooper)

5. Rihanna
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Rihanna: 59%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Diamonds, Disturbia, Live Your Life, Love the Way You Lie (feat. Eminem), Only Girl (In The World), Rude Boy, S & M, SOS, Take A Bow, The Monster, Umbrella, We Found Love, What’s My Name?, Work

4. Kelly Clarkson
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Kelly Clarkson: 60%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: A Moment Like This, My Life Would Suck Without You, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)

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3. Alicia Keys
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Alicia Keys: 63%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Empire State of Mind (feat. Jay-Z), Fallin’, My Boo, No One

2. Adele
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Adele: 65%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Easy on Me, Hello, Rolling in the Deep, Set Fire to the Rain, Someone Like You

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1. Eagles
> Respondents with a positive opinion of Eagles: 66%
> Songs that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: Best of My Love, Heartache Tonight, Hotel California, New Kid in Town, One of These Nights

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