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Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ Was the World’s Best-Selling Album in 2016

Drake had the best-selling song with 'One Dance'

She may have lost the Grammy album of the year award to Adele, but Beyonce’s “Lemonade” was 2016’s top-selling album in the world, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry market report issued Tuesday. The same report crowned Drake as the No. 1 recording artist and his “One Dance” the global top-selling single.

What is striking, however, is that the report cites just 2.5 million global sales for “Lemonade” — which seems low but actually is a reflection of how much streaming has overtaken the marketplace; the IFPI album tally counts only physical and digital sales and does not account for streaming. (According to Nielsen Music’s year-end report, the album sold 1.55 million copies in the U.S. in 2016.)  Adele’s “25” — the leader in 2015 — was No. 2 with 2.4 million, and Drake’s “Views” came in third with 2.3 million. Interestingly, at a press conference in London announcing the report on Tuesday, Warner Music Group international chief Stu Bergen noted that the world’s biggest music market, the U.S., is 70% digital, while the second biggest, Japan, is more than 70% physical.

On the digital singles chart — which does include streaming — Drake’s “One Dance” racked up 12.5 million units, while Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” and The Chainsmokers’ “Closer,” No. 2 and 3 respectively, each garnered around 11.7 units. On the basis of his single and album success, Drake was the most popular artist — rising from No. 9 in 2015 — while the late David Bowie was No. 2 and Coldplay came in third. (For both albums and singles, the IFPI cited itself as the source for the figures. It did so for the “most popular artists and best sellers” chart as well, but noted “The compilation of the IFPI top artist chart has been independently verified through certain agreed procedures by [accounting company] BDO LLP.”)

Prince and The Weeknd are the only artists who made it onto the global most popular chart without appearing on either the album or streaming lists. The IFPI global top 10 chart captures worldwide sales across streaming channels, digital and physical albums, and digital and physical singles.

“In this environment, breaking an artist and building a global fan base isn’t easy,” Bergen said. “If you’re going to be successful, you can’t be focused on a single format. Your approach needs to be all about what’s right for the artist and their fans,” Bergen said, citing the recent success of Ed Sheeran, whose “Divide” album passed 500,000 sales in the U.S. earlier this month, according to Nielsen Music. “We’re leaving no stone unturned: In Russia that meant a social media campaign where people posted fan art with the hashtag #RussiaLovesEd, while in Japan it meant celebrity cats dancing to ‘The Shape of You.’”

Top 10 Global Recording Artists
1. Drake
2. David Bowie
3. Coldplay
4. Adele
5. Justin Bieber
6. Twenty One Pilots
7. Beyonce
8. Rihanna
9. Prince
10. The Weeknd

Global Top 10 Albums (physical and digital sales; excluding streams)
1. Beyonce “Lemonade” 2.5 million units
2. Adele “25” 2.4 million
3. Drake “Views” 2.3 million
4. Metallica “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” 2.1 million
5. David Bowie “Blackstar” 1.9 million
6. The Rolling Stones “Blue & Lonesome” 1.8 million
7. Bruno Mars “24k Magic” 1.7 million
8. Twenty One Pilots “Blurryface” 1.5 million
9. Coldplay “A Head Full of Dreams” 1.4 million
10. Pentatonix “A Pentatonix Christmas” 1.4 million

Global Top 10 Digital Singles (single-track downloads and track-equivalent streams)
1. Drake “One Dance” 12.5 million units
2. Justin Bieber “Love Yourself” 11.7 million
3. The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey “Closer” 11.7 million
4. Sia “Cheap Thrills” 11.1 million
5. Justin Bieber “Sorry” 10.8 million
6. Rihanna “Work” 10.6 million
7. Lukas Graham “7 Years” 10.4 million
8. The Chainsmokers featuring Daya and Konshens “Don’t Let Me Down” 10.2 million
9. Mike Posner “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” 10 million
10. Twenty One Pilots “Stressed Out” 9.9 million

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