Who are Scotland’s most successful music acts?

Picture: Calvin Harris

Picture: Calvin Harris

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SCOTLAND is no stranger to a musical success story, but which music acts have made the biggest impact on the global stage?

Scotland is responsible for producing some of the best British music acts around. The nation’s contribution to the contemporary music industry has been unparalleled in its variation and influence.

Biffy Clyro - Edinburgh Hogmanay 2015/16

Biffy Clyro - Edinburgh Hogmanay 2015/16

There are various way to measure success in today’s modern society. For example, to some, in order to be considered successful you must have an extensive Twitter following. Having a large backing on social media will undoubtedly get you noticed and contribute to levels of success. Of course this favours newer and ultimately younger artists who are more equipped to develop a social media presence.

Ticket and album sales are also still regarded as a defining factor in an artist’s success, but do all these facts and figures reflect public opinion? With so many Scottish acts now firmly established in the forefront of British music history, we take a look at who have proved to be the most successful within this criteria.

Calvin Harris

Twitter following

Dumfries born Calvin Harris leads the way with 6.58m Twitter followers. The music producer has come a long way from his humble begins in Dumfries where he used to stack shelves in Marks and Spencers.

Ticket sales

Calvin is no stranger to a live show and can be found performing throughout the year and, having just extended his Las Vegas residency by three years, he is unlikely to stop anytime soon. Harris has accumulated fans from all corners of the world including right here in Scotland - over 30,000 fans attended his Glasgow Summer Sessions show in August.

Album sales

Calvin’s most recent album ‘Motion’ topped the official Scottish album chart back in November 2014 when it was released. . His previous release ‘18 Months’ produced two number one singles, four number twos, one number four, one number five and one number eight earning him the title of the most top ten hits on a UK singles chart from one album.

Paolo Nutini

Twitter following

Despite having taken a five year break, Paolo Nutini’s popularity hasn’t faltered. His Twitter feed currently sits at 329k followers putting him ahead of the majority of Scottish acts who have been plugging away during his hiatus.

Album sales

The release of his comeback album ‘Caustic Love’ no doubt earned him a few new followers having sold 109,000 copies and debuting at number one in the album charts. Paolo has had a career full of chart success which has allowed to him to take his rightful place as one of Scotland’s most successful artists. His first release ‘These Streets’ charted at number three, followed by ‘Sunny Side Up’ which went straight in at number one.

Ticket sales

Since establishing himself as one the best Scottish acts around, Paolo has had no problem selling out shows wherever he goes. In past twelve months alone he has sold out arenas across Europe, including two dates at Glasgow’s SSE Hyrdo and a festival scale show at Bellahouston Park last month. He also stopped off for a performance at Glastonbury in 2014.

Belle and Sebastian

Twitter following

Despite their commercial success being described as ‘limited’, Belle and Sebastian hold their own with a Twitter following of 85.4k. Their popularity, however, cannot be judged purely through their Twitter followers. The band were named as the ‘Best Scottish Band of All Time’ in 2005 after a three-month public vote carried out by The List magazine. This is only one of the many accolades Belle and Sebastian have received including an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music at the NME Awards 2014.

Album sales

The band have generated nine studio albums throughout their twenty year career, to varying degrees of success. Three of their EP’s have landed in the top 20, as well as two albums charting at number eight. ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’, released in January of this year, was their most acclaimed and well received in recent years, suggesting that the bands long reign as indie pop gods is not ending any time soon.

Ticket sales

With a cult following and twenty-year career behind them, Belle and Sebastian have no issues selling out a live show. Their most recent tour has been selling out all over the country including at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Biffy Clyro

Twitter following

Rockers Biffy Clyro, formed in Kilmarnock, have stood the test of time through the release of their six studio albums. Their popularity is reflected their 226k strong Twitter following.

Album sales

The bands chart success has been a slow and steady process with their second album ‘Puzzle’ reaching number two in the album chart, only to be superseded by latest release ‘Opposites’ which went straight in at number one in 2013. ‘Only Revolutions’, the bands third album, earned them a Mercury Award nomination as well as three top ten singles contributing greatly to their overall chart success. Since establishing themselves as one of Britain’s best rock bands, Biffy Clyro have gone on to sell in excess of 1,240,000 album in the UK alone.

Ticket sales

In Scotland, the band have sold out shows at the 10,000 capacity SECC, the infamous Barrowlands and performed on the SSE Hyrdo stage during the European Music Awards.

Simple Minds

Twitter following

Having formed in 1977, Simple Minds continue to be extremely prominent figures in Scotland’s music culture. Their 13.8k followers confirm the fact that the band are still wholey relevant in today’s society.

Album sales

Throughout their nearing 30 year career, the band have found time to release sixteen albums, from as recently as 2014. Simple Minds have found themselves in various chart positons at the number one spot six time with albums including ‘Sparkle in the Rain’ hit the top spot in 1984.

Ticket sales

Simple Minds have been touring relentlessly since their beginnings in 1977. The band have now played to crowds all over the world from New Zealand, Japan and Brazil. They were also involved in monumental performances including Live Aid, Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute and Artists Against Apartheid Rally.

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