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Adele tops IFPI’s 2021 global album chart

By | Published on Wednesday 2 March 2022


Big news, everyone. Big, big news. Amazing news. Surprising news. Shocking news, even. News you won’t have seen coming. But news that is now confirmed. Backed up with actual numbers and everything. Fully confirmed, big, shocking news. It turns out – brace yourself… It turns out that – despite what you might have thought… I can barely bring myself to say it. OK. Right. It turns out that Adele is really very popular.

I haven’t just made this up, it’s absolutely true. She has, against all the odds, been found to have released the most popular album of 2021. In the world. More popular even than Ed Sheeran’s last one. Actually, that came in at number four. Turns out no one really likes Ed Sheeran. Number four? What even is that?

Oh sure, Ed Sheeran did only release his ‘=’ album in October, which didn’t give him much of the year to be popular in. That said, Adele’s ‘30’ came out three weeks after his, so it really seems like he just didn’t make the effort.

Whatever, anyway, this news all comes from the International Federation Of the Phonographic Industry. The IFPI to its mates.

It’s just announced all the most popular albums worldwide of 2021, and Adele’s ‘30’ is right at the top of it. If you combine all sales and streams, she’s way out on top. If you just look at sales, also on top. If you just look at vinyl – guess what? – on top. If you look at streams alone, well, you can’t because they haven’t published that chart. Who cares about streams though, in this day and age?

Anyway, Adele is at the top of this year’s IFPI Global Album All Format Chart – a chart only introduced last year, even though “all formats” have existed for some time now. It was BTS who won it last year. And this year… Adele! As I may have mentioned.

She got to the top probably by being streamed a few times, but – most importantly – by selling more than five million copies of ‘30’ in 2021. An album, let’s not forget, that was only available for the last six weeks of the year.

Number two on the chart is Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Sour’. Although I think we can all agree that Rodrigo cheated by releasing her album in May 2021, giving her months of popularity to swim about in. Even worse, Justin Bieber got the number three spot by having the audacity to put his ‘Justice’ album out in April 2021.

Worst of all though, The Weeknd absolutely hoodwinked his way to number five by releasing his ‘After Hours’ album in 2020. But, despite these sneaky efforts to get one over on Adele, they all failed. And I hope they’re all sorry too.

Commenting on Adele’s sales (and possibly streaming) success, IFPI chief exec Frances Moore says: “It has been wonderful to have Adele back and releasing music over the second half of last year. Her dominance of all three IFPI Album Charts speaks to her unique songwriting talent, her iconic voice and unrelenting global popularity. We are THRILLED to award Adele and all of her team the IFPI Global Album All Format chart award and send huge congratulations for a stellar year”.

Earlier this week, the IFPI also announced its Global Digital Single Award winner. And guess who that was. No, it was The Weeknd with ‘Save Your Tears’. Adele didn’t actually feature in the top ten of that chart at all, the absolute failure.

No one likes Adele. She’s just not very popular. Even Ed Sheeran managed to beat her – just – by securing tenth place with ‘Bad Habits’. I think we can all agree, based on this alone, that Adele’s time at the top has come to an end.

Right then, shall we finish this off with a load of charts? Sure, let’s do that. Here you go…

Global Album All Format Chart 2021 (Streams, physical, download)

1. Adele – 30
2. Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
3. Justin Bieber – Justice
4. Ed Sheeran – =
5. The Weeknd – After Hours
6. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
7. The Kid Laroi – Fuck Love
8. Abba – Voyage
9. Morgan Wallen – Dangerous: The Double Album
10. Doja Cat – Planet Her

Global Album Sales Chart 2021 (Physical, download)

1. Adele – 30
2. Abba – Voyage
3. Seventeen – Attacca
4. BTS – The Best
5. Ed Sheeran – =
6. Justin Bieber – Justice
7. Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)
8. Seventeen – Your Choice
9. Snow Man – Snow Mania S1
10. Taylor Swift – Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

Global Vinyl Album Chart 2021

1. Adele – 30
2. Harry Styles – Fine Lines
3. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
4. Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
5. Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
6. Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)
7. The Beatles – Abbey Road
8. Nirvana – Nevermind
9. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
10. Taylor Swift – Evermore

Global Digital Single Chart 2021

1. The Weeknd – Save Your Tears
2. The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber – Stay
3. Dua Lipa – Levitating
4. BTS – Butter
5. Olivia Rodrigo – Drivers License
6. Justin Bieber – Peaches (feat Daniel Caesar & Giveon)
7. The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
8. Olivia Rodrigo – Good For You
9. Lil Nas X – Montero (Call Me By Your Name)
10. Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits