With every release of a new FIFA game comes a new, perhaps just as eagerly-anticipated soundtrack.
Football and music go hand in hand, and for those of us that have played FIFA games for decades, the songs and artists associated with them are often a source of happy memories and nostalgia.
Think back to when you’d return home from school, throw down your bag and jump straight on FIFA for the evening – simpler times, you’ll agree.
But what are the most popular FIFA songs of all time? We’ve crunched Spotify streaming data to find out.
Our ranking system explained
There’s no rocket science or confusing formulae behind this one.
We’ve gathered every FIFA soundtrack in their entirety, from when soundtracks first began with FIFA: Road to World Cup ’98 all the way to the most recent FIFA game, FIFA 22, which launched this month (October 2021).
We then delved into Spotify to find out how many times each song had been streamed since it was uploaded to the platform and ranked the 40 songs that came out with the highest numbers.
From the inclusions of obvious classics to the omissions of assumed certainties, our research has both confirmed our predictions AND unearthed a few surprises.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the ‘FIFA 40’.
Top of the pile: Avicii – The Nights
In top spot with more than 880 million streams is The Nights by the late, great Swedish DJ, Avicii, which featured on FIFA 15 after first being released in late 2014.
The song, which later appeared on Avicii’s second studio album Stories in 2015, peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart and reached number one on the UK Dance Chart.
It would then go on to become synonymous with sport. As well as FIFA 15, the song also featured on SportsCenter by ESPN in 2014 to round up the year in sports, and from 2015 to 2018, it was used as the goal song for the Carolina Hurricanes, a professional US ice hockey team.
Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, tragically passed away in 2018, but it’s clear that his musical legacy lives on. His music is still listened to the world over, and he sits proudly at the top of our ‘FIFA 40’.
The top six
The top six songs in our list, including Avicii, make up 37% of the total number of streams in the entire top 40.
Between them, these songs have amassed a staggering total of more than 3.8 billion streams, with each of them boasting more than 500 million streams each.
Let’s take a closer look at the top six…
- The Nights – Avicii (FIFA 15): 886,549,931 streams
- Heat Waves – Glass Animals (FIFA 21): 716,228,788 streams
- you should see me in a crown – Billie Eilish (FIFA 19): 614,879,998 streams
- On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons (FIFA 13): 585,977,918 streams
- Way Down We Go – KALEO (FIFA 16): 541,338,723 streams
- Kids – MGMT (FIFA 09): 506,075,507 streams
(*Spotify streaming data correct as of 18 October, 2021)
The ‘90s was a decade renowned for music, particularly British music – but if an alien landed on Earth today and saw our ‘FIFA 40’, they wouldn’t think this was the case.
Just ONE song from that magnificent musical decade features in the top 40 – but it’s fair to say it’s a banger.
Song 2 by Blur comes in at number 7 on our list, with more than 460 million Spotify streams at the time of writing. The song was released in 1997 and featured on Blur’s eponymous fifth studio album.
It made up part of the soundtrack for FIFA: Road to World Cup ’98– the first game in the FIFA series to have music (the first official FIFA game was launched in 1993, but the games didn’t feature soundtracks until later in the decade).
The noughties and 2010s
While Spotify tells us that only nine songs from noughties FIFAs have been streamed enough times to feature on our list, an impressive 63% of the complete top 40 featured on FIFA games between 2010 and 2019.
Given that Spotify first launched in 2006, it’s perhaps not too much of a surprise that most of the more popular songs on the platform were released after this date.
Interestingly, however, Kids by MGMT, which featured on FIFA 09, sits sixth in our table – or a Europa League spot, some might say.
Not to make you feel too old, but singer Billie Eilish was only born in 2001, yet her song you should see me in a crown comes in at a lofty third place, in amongst songs that were released when she was just a child – or, in the case of Blur’s Song 2, not even born!
That’s pretty impressive (and also makes us feel a bit old).
Eilish’s 2018 hit featured on FIFA 19 and is also the only song in our top 40 to be written entirely in lower case – such is modern music!
FIFA 18 to present day
When looking at the last five FIFAs alone, from FIFA 18 to 22, just 11 songs out of 40 (or 28%) rank in the top 40, according to Spotify.
These 11 songs have a cumulative total stream count of more than 3.2 billion at the time of writing, which, interestingly, isn’t too far behind the top 6 cumulative total of 3.8 billion.
Let’s imagine a top 6 songs vs FIFA 18-22 head-to-head. Our research would suggest a pretty mean musical line-up.
Male v female
If we take out Matt and Kim (for obvious reasons), whose song Daylight featured on FIFA 10 – then our top 40 (or 39) gives us an overwhelming 79:11% majority in favour of male artists.
If we’re honest, we’d have liked to have seen a more even split. But as time goes on and more FIFA games are released, who’s to say future ‘FIFA 40s’ won’t change?
After all, Billie Eilish currently sits proudly in third place at the time of writing.
If we were to tell you that one artist, in particular, features twice in the list of best FIFA songs of all time, who would be your guess?
Well, it probably wouldn’t be Glass Animals, but that’s exactly who it is.
The British indie rock group formed in 2010 featured on both FIFA 21 and FIFA 17 with songs Heat Waves and Youth, respectively.
In fact, Heat Waves has accumulated more than 716 million streams at the time of writing.
Youth, on the other hand, comes in at number 36 on our list, with 122 million streams at the time of writing.
Does this make them THE ultimate FIFA band? You could certainly say so.
More FIFA soundtrack surprises
Our research also uncovered one or two surprises and has perhaps challenged some of the preconceptions we may have had with regards to the popularity of some FIFA songs.
Fools Gold by the Stone Roses is a classic, not just on FIFA, but in general – yet it doesn’t make the top 40.
Even some of the classic songs that do feature on the list perhaps don’t rank as high as you might expect.
For example, Town Called Malice by The Jam, Blue Monday by New Order, and Jerk it Out by Caesars (a song that became famous the world over when it featured on FIFA 2004), to name just a few, are all missing from the top-10.
But when even the ‘bottom’ ranked song has more than 106 million streams (at the time of writing), it proves that the ‘FIFA 40’ is an elite club to get into.
What does the ‘FIFA 40’ tell us?
If nothing else, our ‘FIFA 40’ tells us that people’s music tastes are beautifully diverse. From indie rock to rap and hip-hop to disco, there’s certainly no shortage of genres and styles.
It also somewhat challenges the notion that people prefer ‘older’ music – given more than half of the 40 most popular songs were released post-2010.
Further to that, the most heavily represented FIFA games among the top 40 are FIFA 15 and FIFA 16, both of which have five songs each.
Tell us what you think of our ‘FIFA 40’. Where do your favourite FIFA songs rank? Have they even made the cut? Are you surprised? Not surprised?
Listen to the playlist of all 40 songs below and let us know.