IFPI, the organisation that represents the recorded music industry worldwide, has announced global superstars BTS as the winners of 2020’s IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award.
The unique award is calculated according to an artist’s or group’s worldwide performance across digital and physical music formats during the year, from streams to vinyl, and covers their entire body of work. The award was announced at the culmination of the IFPI Global Artist Chart, which counted down the top 10 best-selling artists of the year globally.
BTS’ win marks their first ever IFPI award, after finishing #2 in 2018’s IFPI Global Artist Chart and #7 in 2019. They become the first Korean act to win the accolade, as well as the first winner to perform primarily in a language other than English.
The award comes after a historic year for BTS (consisting of RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook) who broke record after record with their multiple album releases.
BTS were omnipresent in 2020, providing a welcome escape from the realities of an unprecedented year for music lovers around the world. MAP OF THE SOUL : 7 was released in February 2020 as one of the most pre-ordered albums of all time, and swiftly went to #1 in more than 20 countries. The Japanese-language MAP OF THE SOUL : 7 ~ THE JOURNEY ~ was released in July 2020, passing 500,000 copies within two days of release and becoming the best-selling album by a male foreign artist ever in that market. August brought the release of the all-conquering single Dynamite, the first time BTS recorded a track fully in English, which became their first ever US #1 single and broke records for opening day streams on YouTube and Spotify. BTS closed their incredible year with the release of BE (Deluxe Edition) in November, a response to the COVID-19 pandemic summed up by the lead single Life Goes On, which secured #1s across three continents.
Frances Moore, Chief Executive, IFPI, said: “BTS are a global phenomenon. 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.”
BTS were joined in the top three of the IFPI Global Artist Chart by two-time winners Taylor Swift, who finished at #2 after topping the 2019 chart, and Drake, who secured a place in the top three for the fourth time in the last five years.
Elsewhere in the chart there were returns to the top ten for The Weeknd (#4) and Justin Bieber (#10) following the success of their latest album projects, After Hours and Changes. The Weeknd returns to the top ten after one year out, while Bieber charts for the first time since 2016. Billie Eilish celebrates a second consecutive year in the top five, while Juice WRLD’s posthumously released album Legends Never Die helped him to #9, a fitting tribute to the influence of an artist who was tragically lost in December 2019.
IFPI Top 10 Global Recording Artists of 2020
2019 – Taylor Swift
2018 – Drake
2017 – Ed Sheeran
2016 – Drake
2015 – Adele
2014 – Taylor Swift
2013 – One Direction