Ed Sheeran has been named the world’s best-selling musician ahead of Drake and Taylor Swift.
The singer-songwriter’s 2017 album Divide has been classified multi-platinum in 32 markets, according to the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which gave him the accolade.
The 27-year-old is the only British musician in the top 10 compiled by the international music trade body, which says it looks at “an artist’s worldwide success across digital and physical music formats, from streams to vinyl”.
Sheeran, who previous hits include One, has enjoyed a perfect double of having the best-selling album and single of the year, for Divide and The Shape Of You.
Calling 2017’s list a “who’s who’ of popular music,” IFPI chief executive Frances Moore, said: “The success Ed has achieved is astonishing and testament to his ability to write and perform songs that connect with a truly global fanbase.”
Max Lousada, chief executive of recorded music for Sheeran’s Warner Music Group record label, said in a statement: “Ed is truly an incredible songwriter, vocalist and performer, whose ability to tell stories and make people feel is what stands him out from the crowd.”
Divide, Sheeran’s third studio album, became the fastest-selling by a male artist ever, shifting 672,000 in both sales and streams in its opening week.
Divide and The Shape Of You both topped the charts and at one point, nine tracks from Divide were inside the top 10 and the remaining songs in the top 20.
He also enjoyed the Christmas number one with his track Perfect, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to music and charity and confounded the expectations of some by performing creditably when headlining the Glastonbury Festival.
The singer, who became engaged to his long-time girlfriend Cherry Seaborn in January, has since denied that they had got married in secret, including at last week’s Brits awards, where, fittingly, he took the Global Success award.
Second place went to Canadian-born rapper Drake, whose album More Life was streamed more than a billion times.
Taylor Swift, the only female artist on the list, was third, despite her latest album, Reputation, only being released last November.
Top 10 Global Recording Artists of 2017:
:: Ed Sheeran
:: Taylor Swift
:: Kendrick Lamar
:: Bruno Mars
:: The Weeknd
:: Imagine Dragons
:: Linkin Park
:: The Chainsmokers