UK's 'big five' pop acts make up half of top 10 recording artists of 2015


British pop stars made up half of the 10 biggest selling recording artists of 2015.

The UK's "big five" - Adele, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Coldplay and Sam Smith - between them sold almost 28 million albums last year, new figures show.


Their combined efforts helped the global music industry to report its first significant year-on-year growth for two decades.

2015 also saw the amount of money from digital sales overtake revenues from physical formats for the first time in history.

The findings have been compiled by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the interests of the international recording industry.

They show that Adele had the biggest selling album in the world in 2015, with 25 notching up sales of 17.4 million.

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran was second, with X shifting 3.5 million copies.

Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour was fifth (2.6 million), One Direction's Made In The AM was sixth (2.4 million) while A Head Full Of Dreams by Coldplay was eighth (1.9 million).

See You Again by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth was the biggest selling single of the year, reporting global sales of 20.9 million.

Four British acts made the top 10 singles chart: Mark Ronson, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Adele.

Mark Ronson

Revenues for the worldwide music industry grew by 3.2% in 2015 - the first significant increase since 1995 - to 15 billion US dollars (£10.5 billion).

Sales of digital music, including streaming and downloads, accounted for 45% of this total, compared to 39% for physical sales.

IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said: "After two decades of almost uninterrupted decline, 2015 witnessed key milestones for recorded music: measurable revenue growth globally; consumption of music exploding everywhere; and digital revenues overtaking income from physical formats for the first time.

"They reflect an industry that has adapted to the digital age and emerged stronger and smarter."

Ellie Goulding

But the IFPI report also highlights the gap that has opened up between the amount of music being consumed around the world and the amount of money being returned to artists and producers.

This difference - which the IFPI calls the "value gap" - has increased due to the growing popularity of music being streamed on services supported by advertisements, such as YouTube, which is exempt from normal rules about licensing.

Music of 2015 - Snappa

IFPI boss Frances Moore warned: "Revenues are not being fairly returned to rights holders. The message is clear and it comes from a united music community: The value gap is the biggest constraint to revenue growth for artists, record labels and all music rights holders. Change is needed - and it is to policy makers that the music sector looks to effect change."

The IFPI estimates that Spotify paid record companies 18 US dollars (£13) per user in 2014, the last year of available data. By contrast, it estimates that YouTube delivered less than 1 dollar (70 pence) per user to rights holders in 2015.