In a study of the IFPI’s Global Music Report, Music Business Worldwide reports that Warner Music put out the majority of the top-selling albums in 2016. The study did not look at streaming numbers, as they were not a part of the original report.
The biggest seller was Beyonce’s Lemonade, selling 2.5 million, followed by Adele’s 25 which sold 2.4 million. Drake’s “Views From the 6” came in at #3 with 2.3 million sales. The three albums were relatively close while competing for the top spot. Rounding out the top 5 were Metallica’s Hardwired (2.1 million sales) and David Bowie’s Blackstar (1.9 million sales).
Although some of the albums were released on various labels, Warner Music seems to have had some hand in the projects. And although Warner is only the 3rd biggest label in existence, it’s 2016 track record is a pretty solid one.
According to MBW:
However you slice it, though, Warner Music labels claimed more of the Top 50 than their competitors at Sony and Universal.
Including multi-label releases (ie. those on which the IFPI credits multiple companies), Warner claimed 20 of the Top 50, with Universal on 18, Sony on 10 (including Adele’s 25) and the indies on 6.
The below pie chart shows what things look like when these partial label credits are divided up (ie. segmented into 0.3 credits for three-way splits and 0.5 credits for two-way splits).
Under this system, Warner takes 18.8 of the Top 50, with Universal on 17.5, Sony on 8.8 and the indies on 4.8.