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BTS named most successful recording artist in the world in 2020

By | Published on Friday 5 March 2021


BTS have been announced as the 2020 winners of the Global Recording Artist Of The Year award from worldwide record industry trade group IFPI.

The first South Korean act to ever win the accolade, they are also the first winners who primarily perform in a language other than English. Though before you get too excited about this brave new age where everyone embraces music and culture from every corner of the Earth, the rest of the top ten that accompanies this award is full of North American artists. Yeah, not even a Brit this year!

The IFPI’s big prize is handed to the artist who scored the most sales and streams of their music in any given year. BTS have been close before – coming second in 2018 and in seventh place in 2019 – but this is the first time they’ve taken the trophy. Of course, putting out a lot of music helped.

“BTS are a global phenomenon”, says IFPI CEO Frances Moore. “They have had another outstanding year, releasing three albums, and continually finding creative and engaging ways to share their story with the world. They truly show the power that music has to bring joy and happiness to people the world over. We would like to congratulate RM, Jin, Suga, J-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook, and we are excited to see what they have in store next”.

Putting out three albums in one year clearly helped them get to the top, which may be why Taylor Swift – who only put out a measly two – finds herself in second place, down from number one in 2019.

That said, Drake only put out a compilation of demos in 2020 and he’s at number three. And Billie Eilish makes it to number five, despite not putting out any albums at all in 2020. It’s almost like there’s no clear pattern to be seen here.

Of course, this is all gearing up for the IFPI’s big global record industry stats pack that will be published later this month. That will tell us more about how very successful record labels were around the world in 2020, while – like all such statements in the last year – also trying not to sound too happy about that due to the live industry collapsing.

Anyway, here’s the full top ten:

1. BTS
2. Taylor Swift
3. Drake
4. The Weeknd
5. Billie Eilish
6. Eminem
7. Post Malone
8. Ariana Grande
9. Juice Wrld
10. Justin Bieber