David Bowie beats Drake and Adele as most popular recording artist of 2016

Roisin O'Connor
David Bowie in concert at Earl's Court, London during his 1978 world tour: AFP/Getty

David Bowie has been revealed as the most popular artist of 2016, beating the likes of Drake and Adele to claim the top spot.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) revealed the news in its 38th annual All About the Music 2017 yearbook.

Following his death in 2016, sales of Bowie's work rocketed, and albums including his 25th and final studio album Blackstar, were more popular across all formats that records by Drake or Adele.

1.6 million album equivalent units of David's were counted - 1.5m physical and digital albums sales, 510,000 tracks downloaded and 127 million streamed - putting him ahead of Adele, whose three studio albums sold 1.2 million, and Drake, who released his No.1 album Views last year.

It has also been revealed that the UK has managed to maintain its position as the biggest recorded music market, behind the US and Japan.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, told the Official Charts Company: "This is an exciting time for British music as more fans enjoy today’s new artists and also explore the infinite jukebox available on streaming services.

"The UK punches above its weight as the world’s third largest market, responsible for one in eight albums sold globally, including four of 2016’s Top 10, and is the second-largest digital and streaming market after the US.”

Taylor also warned that Brexit "risks new EU barriers for UK acts, who also face stiff competition from overseas artists on global streaming platforms.

“Our business will only reach its full potential if government makes the creative sector a high priority in trade negotiations and offers the same kind of support to investment into music, such as through tax credits, as it has to the film and games industries," he said.

All About The Music 2017 is out now.

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