best tv soundtracks

The TV Shows with the Best Soundtracks

With most great TV shows, comes a suitably excellent soundtrack. From emotive, sweeping scores, to nostalgic classic tracks, a soundtrack can take us deeper into the story and captivate our senses.

But there are some soundtracks that we just can’t get enough of, even after the episode ends. So, which TV shows have the best music

Here at Freesat, we did some research to find out which soundtrack albums of some of our favourite shows got the most plays, looking at total plays as well as average plays on Spotify.   


The TV Shows with the Most Played Soundtracks by Total  

When we look at the total plays for each song on the soundtrack, the hit Netflix Original Stranger Things takes the top spot, with over 5 billion plays spread out over six soundtrack albums. With hits from the likes of The Police and The Clash, as well as an incredible score, it’s not hard to see why this soundtrack tops the list. 

best soundtracks by total plays

 

1. Stranger Things - 5 billion plays 

2. One Tree Hill - 1.7 billion plays 

3. This Is Us - 1.3 billion plays 

4. Game of Thrones - 1 billion plays 

5. The O.C. - 958 million plays 

6. Big Little Lies - 860 million plays 

7. Orange Is The New Black - 857 million plays 

8. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - 709 million plays 

9. Euphoria - 544 million plays 

10. Empire - 476 million plays   


The TV Shows with the Most Played Soundtracks on Average  

With some soundtracks featuring far more songs than others, it seems only fair to look at the average plays as well as totals. By taking an average play count based on the plays of each track, we were able to work out an average play count for each show. The teen classic, One Tree Hill comes out on top with an average of over 36 million plays per track. For a TV show with storylines that so often intertwined with the music, it makes sense that this show would rank well. 

best tv soundtracks on average

1. One Tree Hill - 36.6 million average plays 

2. Big Little Lies - 30.7 million average plays 

3. Stranger Things - 27 million average plays 

4. Euphoria - 20.9 million average plays 

5. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - 15.8 million average plays 

6. Orange Is The New Black - 15 million average plays 

7. This Is Us - 14.6 million average plays 

8. The O.C. - 13.3 million average plays 

9. The Vampire Diaries - 9.7 million average plays 

10. The Sopranos - 8.9 million average plays 


The Top British TV Soundtracks 

Looking at our ranking of top TV show soundtracks, the list is filled with American made shows. But that doesn’t mean that the Brits don’t know how to create a fantastic soundtrack. So, what is the best of British when it comes to TV soundtracks? Taking the crown for Britain is, well, The Crown! Of course, we wouldn’t expect anything less of this royal drama with its sweeping score that perfectly captures the regal and historic feel of the show. 

top british tv soundtracks

  

1. The Crown - 97.2 million total plays 

2. Trying - 72.8 million total plays 

3. Sherlock - 70.1 million total plays 

4. Sex Education - 45.3 million total plays 

5. Black Mirror - 38.8 million total plays   

While Game of Thrones isn’t technically a British show, with such a huge cast of brilliant Brits, we can’t help but give them an honourable mention, especially seeing as the show's soundtrack has accumulated over 1 billion listens.  

top 40 tv soundtracks

The TV Shows with the Most Popular Theme Songs 

A really great theme song is a great way to get viewers excited for their favourite show, with some songs being almost as popular as the show itself. So which theme songs are the most popular and which shows do they belong to? 

We took a look at the total number of plays for each song, both on official soundtrack albums and elsewhere to find out just how popular these theme songs really are. 

top 40 tv theme tunes

1. Supernatural - Carry On Wayward Son - 363 million plays 

2. One Tree Hill - I Don’t Want to Be - 142 million plays 

3. Friends - I’ll Be There For You - 138 million plays 

4. The O.C. - California - 99.3 million plays 

5. Big Little Lies - Cold Little Heart - 60.4 million plays 

6. Game Of Thrones - Main Title - 46.6 million plays 

7. Stranger Things - Stranger Things - 46 million plays 

8. Orange Is The New Black - You’ve Got Time - 28.6 million plays 

9. Westworld - Main Title Theme - 26.3 million plays 

10. Band of Brothers - Main Titles - 22.3 million plays 

11. The Sopranos - Woke Up This Morning - 18.7 million plays 

12. Mad Men - A Beautiful Mine - 15.5 million plays 

13. Sons of Anarchy - This Life - 13.4 million plays 

14. Twin Peaks - Twin Peaks Theme - 11.3 million plays 

15. The Crown - The Crown Main Title - 6.9 million plays 

16. Sherlock - Opening Titles - 4.6 million plays 

17. The Wire - Way Down in the Hole - 3.3 million plays 

18. Dexter - Dexter Main Title - 3 million plays 

19. The Walking Dead - Theme from The Walking Dead - 2.8 million plays 

20. Jessica Jones - Main Title - 2.4 million plays  


The Top TV Soundtrack Tracks 

When we look at the top 10 TV show soundtracks, there are some songs that stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of how many plays they get, but which are the most popular tracks?  

We took a look at the total number of plays for each song as listed on the official soundtracks, although numbers are taken from total plays across the platform. 

1. Africa by TOTO - Stranger Things Soundtrack - 1 billion plays


2. Naive by The Kooks = The Road Mix: Music From The Television Series One Tree Hill Vol. 3 - 369 million plays


3. You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon - This Is Us (Music From The Series) - 356 million plays


4. Light of the Seven by Ramin Djawadi - Game of Thrones (Music from the HBO Series - Season 6) - 100 million plays


5. Smile Like You Mean It by The Killers - The O.C. The Mix Vol. 2 - 101 million plays


6. River by Leon Bridges - Big Little Lies (Music From The HBO Limited Series) - 238 million plays


7. I Want To Know What Love Is by Foreigner - Orange Is The New Black Seasons 2 & 3 (Music From The Original Series) - 404 million plays


8. What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2 (Music From The Prime Original Series) - 285 million plays


9. Still Don’t Know My Name by Labrinth - Euphoria (Original Score from the HBO Series) - 266 million plays


10. Good Enough (feat. Jussie Smollett) by Empire Cast - Empire: The Complete Season 1 - 37.7 million plays


Methodology

We began with a list of popular TV shows as well as those known for their soundtracks, using sources such as Empire, Elle, Spin and Screen Rant. We then used Spotify to find the play counts for each track on each album, taking a total and an average for each soundtrack. This data includes both soundtracks and TV scores, taking into account the number of plays for each, but only using official album releases and avoiding any fan-made compilations.