Media Release: British artists dominate global music sales in 2015


MUSIC body, the BPI, celebrates the continuing global success of British artists, who in 2015 maintained their domination of the world stage.

According to the Global Recording Artist top ten chart compiled by international music body IFPI, which reflects an artist’s popularity across albums and singles for their full catalogue, half of the ten most popular recording artists in 2015 hailed from the UK, including Adele in top spot.

Adele’s album 25 has sold over 15 million copies around the world to date since its release in November 2015, including 2.65 million copies in the UK according to Official Charts Company data.

Second place in the Global Recording Artist top ten went to Ed Sheeran, whose studio album x has now sold more than ten million copies world-wide since its release in June 2014 – an achievement recognised at last year’s BRIT Awards 2015 when the Yorkshire-born singer songwriter collected two BRITs for British Male Solo Artist and MasterCard British Album of the Year.

The other British acts to feature in the IFPI chart are One Direction (no.5), who scored their fourth UK No.1 album with Made In The AM, Coldplay (no.6), who saw A Head Full Of Dreams add to their haul of over 80 million records sold worldwide since the band formed in 1996, and Sam Smith (no.8), who raised his global profile recording the title track to James Bond Spectre and has seen his 2014 debut In the Lonely Hour sell more than two million copies in both the UK and the US.

Second in terms of national groupings in the IFPI global top ten after the UK came Canadian artists, with Justin Bieber (no.4), Drake (no.9) and The Weeknd (no.10) flying the Maple Leaf, while two acts hail from the US – Taylor Swift (no.3) and Maroon 5 (no.7).

Welcoming the continuing success of British artists, Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI and the BRIT Awards, said: “It’s an extraordinary achievement for the UK to claim 50 per cent of the top music artists in the world.

“Our super-talented artists are supported by innovative labels that have seized the opportunity of digital to build fanbases right around the world, boosting exports and Britain’s profile overseas.

“It’s now time for the government to help capitalise on this success, so we can produce more great music here in the UK and further boost our burgeoning creative sector.”

Commenting on the IFPI Global Recording Artist Award, IFPI chief executive, Frances Moore, said: “I’m delighted to be able to honour Adele as the most popular global recording artist of 2015. Her album 25 has been the runaway global sensation of the year, breaking records across the world and reaching a vast audience of fans. All of the artists in our top ten chart have achieved incredible success – and Adele’s achievement is simply phenomenal.”

IFPI Global Recording Artist of 2015, top ten (Source IFPI)

1.                   Adele                                    UK

2.                   Ed Sheeran                         UK

3.                   Taylor Swift                        USA

4.                   Justin Bieber                      Canada

5.                   One Direction                    UK

6.                   Coldplay                               UK

7.                   Maroon 5                            USA

8.                   Sam Smith                           UK

9.                   Drake                                    Canada

10.               The Weeknd                      Canada

IFPI’s Global Recording Artist award and top ten chart is the first and only ranking to accurately capture the popularity of artists across streaming channels, alongside digital and physical album and singles sales on a global basis.

Recipients in 2013 and 2014, respectively, were One Direction and Taylor Swift.

The independently-verified Global Recording Artist chart includes sales of albums – across digital, CD and vinyl formats; singles, both downloaded and physical; on-demand audio streams and music videos across the calendar year.

The chart includes all the music of each artist featured, not just one track or album. It uses track and album equivalents to combine measurements of downloads, physical sales and streams.


For further information please contact:

BPI Gennaro Castaldo +44 (0)20 7803 1326 / +44 (0)7801 194 139

IFPI Adrian Strain +44 (0)20 7878 7939 / 7935

Notes to editors:

The compilation of the IFPI top artist chart has been independently verified through certain agreed procedures by BDO LLP. BDO LLP has verified that IFPI has compiled the chart correctly in line with the outlined procedures.

About IFPI: IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in 62 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 57 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.

About the BPI: The BPI was formed in 1973 and is a representative voice of the UK recorded music business. It promotes recorded music in the UK and worldwide and champions the rights of the music community. Its membership is made up of hundreds of independent music labels and the UK’s three major record companies, which collectively account for around 85 per cent of the recorded music consumed in the UK – the world’s fourth-largest music market.

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