Drake’s status as the world’s best-selling artist was usurped by Ed Sheeran on the 2017 IFPI Global Recording Artist Chart that was released this week by the worldwide music industry umbrella org.
Following the success of his third studio album Divide, released in March 2017, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter surpasses Canadian rapper Drake, who held the 2016 title and appears second on this year’s prestigious list.
The honour reportedly reflects “an artist’s worldwide success across digital and physical music formats, from streams to vinyl.”
His album has been certified as multi-Platinum in 36 markets. Shape of You was the best-selling single globally of 2017 and has been certified as multi-Platinum in 32 markets. It is the first time that the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year has had both the best-selling album and single of the year.
Sheeran is the fifth recipient of the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award; the unique and authoritative accolade that reflects an artist's worldwide success across digital and physical music formats, from streams to vinyl. Previous recipients of this prestigious award are One Direction (2013), Taylor Swift (2014), Adele (2015) and Drake (2016).
"Being crowned the biggest star in the world, with the biggest song and biggest album, is the result of years of ambition, creativity, and hard work on a global scale,” said Max Lousada, CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group & Chairman and CEO of Warner Music UK. “Ed is truly an incredible songwriter, vocalist and performer, whose ability to tell stories and make people feel is what stands him out from the crowd. He's always had a totally authentic connection with his fans, something he places over everything else. Congrats also to Stuart Camp, the Atlantic teams in the UK and US, and everyone at Warner who contributed to Ed's amazing success story."
IFPI Chief Executive, Frances Moore, stated in a release: "It's wonderful to be able to announce Ed Sheeran as the IFPI Global Recording Artist 2017. The success Ed has achieved is astonishing and a testament to his ability to write and perform songs that connect with a truly global fan base.
"This year's Global Top 10 really is a 'who's who' of popular music. Each artist has a unique impact on the music industry through the talent and energy they are channelling through their work. I congratulate them all for such a successful year."
Drake, recipient of the award in 2016, takes second place after a successful year which saw his More Life mixtape break records for the most streams in 24 hours for an album on Apple Music and best first-day streams for an album on Spotify.
Taylor Swift's sixth studio album, Reputation, which was released in November 2017, has helped the artist take third place.
Following Sheeran, Drake and Swift on the IFPI Global Recording Artist 2017 top 10 list are Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, Linkin Park and The Chainsmokers.