Gaming Soundtracks

The most popular songs featured in video games revealed

Video game soundtracks have come a long way since the simple blips and bleeps of old 8-bit consoles and are now a key part of the experience, often including a full orchestral score.

But some of the best video game soundtracks of all time are known for making excellent use of licensed songs from popular bands and artists.

Licensed video game soundtracks can either be used to immerse the player in the time and place that the game is set in or showcase up and coming artists, for whom getting featured on a big game could be their big break.

But which are the most popular licensed video game soundtracks when we look at the number of Spotify plays?

THE MOST LISTENED TO

Gaming Soundtracks

If we’re just looking solely at which game has had its songs played the most on Spotify, then there’s only one winner.

Grand Theft Auto V has seen its songs listened to over 15 billion times, but this isn’t quite fair, because the latest version of the game features a whopping 537 songs, way more than any other on our list.

For that reason, we’ve chosen to take an average number of plays for each song on the soundtrack, with fairly surprising results.

The Metal Gear Solid franchise isn’t one that you’d necessarily associate with a great soundtrack, but that all changed in the latest instalment, where dozens of cassette tapes featuring classic songs from the game's 80s setting are hidden around the map, including Take on Me by a-ha, Friday I’m In Love by the Cure and Maneater by Hall & Oates, with an average play count of 143,784,383 across 16 songs.

In second place was one of the first-ever games to use licensed music, Rock n’ Roll Racing for the SNES, followed by Rock Band 3, which had one of the best soundtracks of the many music games of the 2000s.

The Top 3 GAMING SOUNDTRACKS

1

GAME:

Metal Gear Solid V:

The Phantom Pain

Average Plays: 143,784,383

Most Played Song:

Take on Me - a-ha

Total Plays: 2,300,550,135

2

GAME:

Rock n' Roll Racing

Average Plays: 136,460,467

Most Played Song:

Paranoid - Black Sabbath

Total Plays: 818,762,804

3

GAME:

Rock Band 3

Average Plays: 94,581,373

Most Played Song:

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

Total Plays: 7,850,253,989

THE MOST LISTENED TO GAMING SOUNDTRACKS

Rank

Game

Year

# of songs

Total Plays

Average plays
per song

Most Played Song

THE MOST LISTENED TO

Gaming SoNGS

But which are the most popular songs to be featured in video games? While there have been countless classic songs featured in games over the years, there was a clear winner here, with Queen’s iconic Bohemian Rhapsody, which featured in Rock Band 3, gaining over 1.2 billion listens.

This was followed by Toto’s Africa from GTA: Vice City (807m) and Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses (767m), which was a playable song on Guitar Hero II.

The Top 3 GAMING Songs

1

Song/Artist:

Bohemian Rhapsody

- Queen

Total Plays: 1,239,822,734

Game Featured On:

Rock Band 3

2

Song/Artist:

Africa

- Toto

Total Plays: 807,641,998

Game Featured On:

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

3

Song/Artist::

Sweet Child o' Mine

- Guns N' Roses

Total Plays: 767,559,404

Game Featured On:

Guitar Hero II

The Most Listened to Gaming Songs

Rank

Song

Artist

Game

Plays

Methodology

We sourced a list of 50 video games known for their use of a licensed soundtrack, according to various list articles from the web, including:

https://www.criticalhit.net/gaming/the-10-best-licensed-soundtracks-in-video-games/

https://www.unilad.co.uk/gaming/five-incredible-licensed-soundtracks-in-video-games/

https://www.lacedrecords.com/blogshttps://www.lacedrecords.com/blogs/news/100-fantastic-video-game-soundtracks-from-the-2010s/news/100-fantastic-video-game-soundtracks-from-the-2010s

All Spotify play counts correct as of 06/07/2020. Note that not all songs from each soundtrack were available on Spotify.

Average plays per song were calculated by taking the total number of Spotify plays and dividing by the number of songs on each game’s soundtrack.

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