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(From left) V, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Jimin and j-hope, of South Korean boy band BTS, pose as they arrive for the launch of their single album Butter in May 2021, one of the releases that led to their IFPI award. Photo: EPA-EFE

BTS win 2021 Global Recording Artist of the Year award from IFPI, beating Taylor Swift, Adele, Drake, Ed Sheeran and others

  • The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry praises the K-pop boy band for their ‘creativity, hard work’ and ‘unique global appeal’
  • They join Drake and Taylor Swift as the only act to win the industry award twice. Also among the 10 best-performing acts of 2021 are K-pop group Seventeen
Tamar Hermanin United States

Superstar K-pop boy band BTS have won the IFPI’s 2021 Global Recording Artist of the Year award for the second year in a row, the leading music industry organisation announced on Thursday.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said the South Korean septet received the award based on their worldwide performance across digital and physical music formats and platforms last year.

BTS were the best-performing act globally in 2021, followed by solo artists Taylor Swift and Adele.

“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,” IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said in a statement.

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

“We would like to wish RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook and all who work on their team huge congratulations on winning the Global Recording Artist of the Year Award and on another year of brilliant success.”

BTS notably released their Grammy-nominated single Butter and the Permission to Dance B-side single in 2021, as well as a high-profile collaboration with Coldplay, My Universe.

The band also released their Japanese BTS, The Best album, and various members of the group were involved in an array of other music releases last year.

Each of BTS’ 2021 releases topped charts around the world and broke numerous records.

The IFPI said: “The IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award and top 10 chart is the only ranking to accurately measure consumption across all formats (including streaming formats, digital and physical album, and singles sales) and all countries. It is weighted based on the relative value of each method of consumption.”

The IFPI began presenting the Global Recording Artist of the Year Award in 2013.

Since then, One Direction, Adele, and Ed Sheeran have each been recognised once, while BTS join Drake and Taylor Swift as the only artists to win the best-performing global artist award in two years.

As well as announcing BTS as the best-performing musical act in 2021, the IFPI also revealed the other artists that made up the top 10 in the category, in the following order: Taylor Swift, Adele, Drake, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Seventeen and Olivia Rodrigo.

Seventeen, another K-pop band under the umbrella of BTS’ management company Hybe Corp, are the only other group from South Korea in the top 10, all the rest being US- or UK-based acts.