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Fuck me, Ed Sheeran was the most successful act in 2017, who knew?

By | Published on Tuesday 27 February 2018

Ed Sheeran

The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry yesterday published its annual list of the ten best-selling/streamed artists of 2017 and – hey – hold on to your hats for the big reveal – you’re never going to guess – what a twist no one saw coming – who’d have thought it could ever be so – topping the pile is Edward Sheeran.

That’s good news for us Brits, who like to boast about how our music industry consistently punches above its weight on the global music stage, given this year everyone else in the top ten harks from North America. However, before all you Trumpers start boasting that that’s what happens when you “make America great again”, let’s all note that the second most successful artist of 2017 is Canadian. Hey Canada, how you doing? Look at us, pushing those Americans into third place. Fuck them, I say.

Away from all this unrelenting patriotism, the more depressing feature of the 2017 ‘most successful artists’ list is surely the fact that third place Taylor Swift is the only woman in the top ten. The list always skews male, but not usually to that extent.

Quite how diverse this list is in terms of gender, ethnicity and nationality does always depend, to an extent, on the release schedule, and which of the very small group of truly global superstar artists have been active in the previous twelve months.

Still, the notable lack of female acts this year makes the various initiatives to address the gender gap in music all the more pressing. Especially given that, even when a few more female superstars do populate lists like this one, you always know that the songwriters, producers and session musicians those superstars have worked with are likely to be mainly male.

But hey, Brit-boy Ed Sheeran, the most successful artist of 2017, woo! “Being crowned the biggest star in the world, with the biggest song and biggest album, is the result of years of ambition, creativity, and hard work on a global scale”, says the boss of Sheeran’s record company Warner Music, Max Lousada.

Adds Lousada: “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. He’s always had a totally authentic connection with his fans, something he places over everything else. Congrats also to [Sheeran’s manager] Stuart Camp, the Atlantic teams in the UK and US, and everyone at Warner who contributed to Ed’s amazing success story”.

Now that we’ve all suitably celebrating Sheeran’s success, let’s all get depressed again over the full top ten…

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Drake
3. Taylor Swift
4. Kendrick Lamar
5. Eminem
6. Bruno Mars
7. The Weeknd
8. Imagine Dragons
9. Linkin Park
10. The Chainsmokers