Today, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) unveiled their annual list of the top ten Global Recording Artists. Kpop superstars BTS landed at No.1, making them the only act to win the honor over two consecutive years, purely on the popularity of their 2021 singles, “Butter” and “Permission to Dance.” According to the IFPI’s website, the ranking is calculated based on an artist or band’s “worldwide performance across digital and physical music formats during the year, from streams to vinyl, and covers their entire body of work.”
“BTS’ phenomenal success over the last year is a testament to their creativity, hard work, and ongoing commitment to continuing to find ways to bring their music to the world,” Frances Moore, IFPI’s chief executive, said in a statement. “By performing in three different languages, they demonstrate their extraordinarily unique global appeal.”
Taylor Swift and Adele rounded out the IFPI’s second and third spots, respectively. Swift, who topped the chart in 2019, released the second of her re-recorded albums, Red (Taylor’s Version), in November and broke the Guinness World Record for the longest song to reach No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with the expanded edition of her heartbreaking ballad, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).” That same month, Adele released her anticipated new album, 30.
Released in September, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, marking the Canadian rapper’s tenth LP to reach that feat. Globally, the record topped the album charts in the UK, Australia, and Sweden. Justin Bieber’s latest LP, Justice, also found success with a No.1 debut in the US and Canada.
Taking the No.6 spot on the chart is The Weeknd, who, despite not releasing a studio album last year, found continued success with 2020’s electronic-influenced After Hours. He also partnered with frequent collaborator Oneohtrix Point Never on Dawn FM, which dropped at the top of 2022. He is set to embark on an all-stadium “After Hours til Dawn” tour in North America and Europe this summer.
Korean group SEVENTEEN, who came in at No.9, enjoyed double-platinum success after their third Japanese-language single, “Not Alone,” was released in May. From there, they released two more studio EPs: Your Choice and Attacca, the latter selling two million copies – an all-time high for the group.
Rounding out the list, Billie Eilish (No.7) and Olivia Rodrigo (No.10) each enjoyed an enormous 2021 with similar trajectories. Last summer, Eilish released her long-awaited sophomore LP, Happier Than Ever, which earned seven Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year. Rodrigo, meanwhile, scored two No.1 song debuts, with “Good 4 U” and the record-breaking “Drivers License.” She is also up for a handful of Grammy nods, including Album of the Year (for her chart-topping debut LP, Sour) and Song of the Year (“Driver’s License”).