NEW YORK - Adele, who broke records with her song "Hello" and latest album "25," was officially the biggest artist of 2015.
Global music industry body IFPI said that the British ballad singer was the top-selling musical act last year based on worldwide sales of recordings.
Adele achieved the feat for the full year even though she did not release "25" until November 20 and declined to put the album on streaming sites, a rare move at a time when such on-demand services are growing rapidly.
"25"—Adele's third album which came more than four years after its predecessor— broke records for first-week sales in both the United States and Britain.
The first track "Hello," an introspective ballad in line with Adele's previous work, was the first single to be downloaded more than one million times in the United States in one week.
IFPI chief executive Frances Moore, in a statement issued from Europe on Monday, called "25" the "runaway global sensation of 2015" and said Adele's achievement was "simply phenomenal."
IFPI, which stands for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, presents its annual award based on an artist's physical and digital sales as well as streaming, although the group does not release figures.
Number two for 2015 was another British artist, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, whose career has soared in the past couple of years on the popularity of his ballad "Thinking Out Loud."
US country-turned-pop superstar Taylor Swift, who won the IPFI Global Recording Artist award the previous year when she released her chart-topping album "1989," fell to number three in 2015.
Rounding off the top five were Canadian pop celebrity Justin Bieber, who in November released his latest album "Purpose," and British boy band One Direction who called a hiatus in late 2015 after a fifth album and departure of founding member Zayn Malik. —Agence France-Presse