71% of the top 100 Spotify artists in the UK are "self-taught", say researchers, but is that really so surprising?

(Image credit: Dragana Gavrilovic/Skoove)

Almost three quarters of the top 100 artists on Spotify in the UK are self-taught musicians - that’s according to new research from piano learning app Skoove and the data crunchers at Crafins Studio.

Their study indicates that 71% of the top artists on the platform didn’t have a formal musical education. Perhaps less surprisingly, only 13% of the top 100 have a music degree, though a further 3% started one but didn’t finish it.

Thanks to the likes of YouTube and TikTok, music learning resources are more accessible and affordable than ever, while dedicated online piano and guitar learning platforms mean that it’s possible to get a good level of tuition without paying for in-person lessons.

That said, this isn’t a completely new phenomenon; there have been self-taught musicians for decades, with many simply learning by ear or another method that works for them.

It’s also worth noting that technology has made it far easier for ‘non-musicians’ to make music. A great many tracks are now made completely in the box, using just a computer and some software, and a lack of playing ability is no longer the barrier to entry that it once was.

Although traditionalists may bemoan the lack of classical training in many of today’s biggest artists, Skoove CEO Florian Plenge sees it as a positive.

“You could argue that learning outside of the regimented structure of formal education may allow self-taught individuals to express their creativity more freely as their learning and engagement with their instrument is unconstrained,” he says. “Without traditional frameworks and support, they have to be resourceful in their learning and stand on their own two feet.”

You can read more about the research on the Skoove website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.