Drake Named IFPI Global Recording Artist of 2016

Richard Isaac/REX/Shutterstock
Drake performs at the O2 Arena in London on Feb. 1, 2017.  

It's official: Drake was the most popular recording artist around the world in 2016. 

The Canadian hip-hop star has been crowned the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year, an honor which recognizes the top artist across physical sales, downloads and streaming.   

Drake is coming off the type of year most artists can only dream of. Drizzy cemented his reputation as hip-hop’s biggest player with Views, which became the first album to reach one billion streams on Apple Music. His hit song "One Dance" cleaned up on sales charts around the globe en route to becoming the first song to generate one billion streams on Spotify (he finished 2016 as the most popular artist of all time on Spotify with over 8.7 billion streams).

Views spent 13 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and finished 2016 as the most popular release of the year in the U.S. and in Canada, according to Nielsen Music, while "One Dance" was declared the year’s bestseller in the U.K., according to the Official Charts Company.

“I’m delighted to be able to honor Drake as the IFPI Global Recording Artist 2016,” comments IFPI chief executive Frances Moore in a statement. ”Drake’s phenomenal success reflects how deeply his unique sound appeals to an enormous global audience. The Global Top 10 list features a number of amazing artists, and the variety and vibrancy of their art speaks volumes about the exciting state of music today.”

According to the trade body, the artist award and top 10 chart is the first and only ranking to accurately capture the popularity of artists across streaming channels, alongside digital and physical album and singles sales on a global basis.

The late, great David Bowie came in at No. 2 on the IFPI’s annual Global Top 10, thanks to the extraordinary success of what turned out to be his final studio album, Blackstar. The LP dropped two days before Bowie’s death in January 2016 and went on to reach No. 1 in 24 countries, including his first ever No. 1 on the Billboard 200. 

In third and fourth place on the list, respectively, were Coldplay and Adele whose 2015 albums A Head Full of Dreams and 25 continue to sell well and generate hits throughout 2016.

Canadian artists made a particularly strong showing. Justin Bieber came in at No. 5 on the list and his compatriot the Weeknd arrived at No. 10.

The music of Prince resonated in the year that the Purple One passed away; he came in at No. 9 on the IFPI list.

Drake is just the fourth recipient of the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award following One Direction, Taylor Swift and last year’s winner, Adele. Drake has eight more chances to add to his trophy room at this Sunday’s 59th Grammy Awards.

IFPI's Top 10 Global Recording Artists of 2016 
1. Drake
2. David Bowie
3. Coldplay
4. Adele
5. Justin Bieber
6. Twenty One Pilots
7. Beyoncé
8. Rihanna
9. Prince
10. The Weeknd