Taylor Swift has been named the best-selling international music act of 2019 in a report issued by IFPI, the organization that speaks for the music industry around the world. The honor reflects strong global sales for her seventh album, “Lover,” which was released in August. Swift’s last time topping the IFPI’s yearly top 10 was back in 2014, the year her blockbuster “1989” came out.
Universal Music Group’s dominance of the world market was reflected in eight of the year’s 10 bestselling artists, marking the first time one company ever had its artists take that many spots. Besides Swift, UMG had Post Malone in the No. 3 position, Billie Eilish in fourth place, Queen at No. 5, Ariana Grande in the sixth spot, and Drake, Lady Gaga and the Beatles at Nos. 8-10.
The only non-Universal acts in the top 10 were Warner Music’s Ed Sheeran at No. 2 and Sony Music’s BTS at No. 7. Sheeran previously topped the list in 2017, when his “÷” album stormed the charts; he placed in IFPI’s top 10 in the two intervening years as well.
“Taylor Swift is the epitome of a truly global star,” Frances Moore, the chief executive of IFPI, said in a statement. “She continues to grow as an artist and maintains an incredibly strong connection with her fan base, whilst continuing to evolve her sound with each album. It is a pleasure to be able to present her with the Global Recording Artist of the Year award for the second time.”
Moore pointed out the age and genre diversity on the chart, with classic rock still going strong via the Beatles and Queen while then-17-year-old Eilish stormed in as the only freshman on the list.
Drake, down to No. 8 this year, stood at No. 1 for 2018, and also topped the chart in 2016. Other recent winners include Adele in 2015 and the now possibly defunct One Direction in 2013.
IFPI’s rankings account for consumption in all digital and physical formats, weighted by the value of each medium.
UMG said in a separate statement that 2019 marked the first time in more than 10 years that it was the No. 1 company in all five of the world’s leading music markets (the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Germany and France).
Universal also sought to put an asterisk on BTS’ place in the top 10, noting that the company retains rights to distribute all of the group’s Japanese-language releases via Universal Music Japan.
IFPI’s top 10 global recording artists list for the year:
- Taylor Swift (UMG)
- Ed Sheeran (Warner)
- Post Malone (UMG)
- Billie Eilish (UMG)
- Queen (UMG)
- Ariana Grande (UMG)
- BTS (Big Hit/UMG/Sony)
- Drake (UMG)
- Lady Gaga (UMG)
- The Beatles (UMG)