BTS were the top-selling act in the world last year

By Mark Savage
BBC Music Correspondent

  • Published
BTSImage source, IFPI
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BTS were named Global Recording Artist of the Year by music industry body the IFPI

Pop group BTS, whose catchy, upbeat songs have won them legions of fans, have been named as the world's best-selling artists for the second year running.

The South Korean band beat the likes of Drake and Adele to top a chart compiled by music industry body the IFPI.

It comes after a hugely successful year for Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook - who topped the US Billboard chart three times, and earned a Grammy nomination for their Michael Jackson-inspired single, Butter.

In Asia, BTS released a Japanese language greatest hits album, BTS: The Best, which was the year's biggest-seller on Japan's Oricon album chart.

It was the first time in 37 years that a foreign act had topped the chart. The last artist to do so was Michael Jackson, with his blockbuster 1984 album Thriller.

In BTS' home country, the CD release of Butter also topped the year-end charts - marking the sixth year in succession that the band have managed the feat.

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Added together, their sales, streams and downloads made them the world's most successful act of 2021, said the IFPI, which awarded them its Global Recording Artist Of The Year award.

"BTS' phenomenal success over the last year is a testament to their creativity, hard work and ongoing commitment to continuing to find ways to bring their music to the world," said chief executive Frances Moore.

"By performing in three different languages, they demonstrate their extraordinarily unique global appeal, and their dynamic and passionate fanbase has helped to make them the first artists in history to top the Global Artist Chart in two consecutive years."

American songwriter Taylor Swift took second place in the chart - the same position she held last year - while Adele came third.

BTS were joined by fellow K-pop stars Seventeen, who made their debut on the chart at number nine, while Olivia Rodrigo made her first appearance, in tenth place.

Here's the full top ten:

  1. BTS
  2. Taylor Swift
  3. Adele
  4. Drake
  5. Ed Sheeran
  6. The Weeknd
  7. Billie Eilish
  8. Justin Bieber
  9. Seventeen
  10. Olivia Rodrigo

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