|Global Recording Artist of the Year|
|Awarded for||Most successful recording artist worldwide based on album-equivalent units|
|Presented by||International Federation of the Phonographic Industry|
|First awarded||January 2014|
|Most recent winner||BTS (2020)|
The Global Recording Artist of the Year is an award presented by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to honor the best-performing recording artist based on a total of album-equivalent units, which include music downloads, streaming and physical format sales. It has been awarded every year since January 2014, with British boy band One Direction becoming the first act to receive the accolade for Global Recording Artist of 2013. This success was attributed to the band's third studio album, Midnight Memories, which became the best-selling album of the year with sales of 4 million copies worldwide. Taylor Swift was awarded the Global Recording Artist of 2014 after the commercial success of her fifth studio album, 1989. During the year, the album became the second global bestseller with sales of 6 million copies, and spawned two international number-one singles, "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space".
Adele received the award for the Global Recording Artist of 2015 with the release of her third studio album, 25. It became the best-selling album of the year worldwide, selling 17.4 million copies. The album's lead single, "Hello", reached number one in nearly all countries where it charted, and became the seventh biggest digital song of the year with 12.3 million track-equivalent units. The Global Recording Artist of 2016 went to Drake, whose fourth studio album, Views, was the third best-selling album of the year with 2.3 million copies. Views was more successful on streaming services, becoming the first album ever to accumulate 1 billion streams on Apple Music. The album's second single, "One Dance", became the biggest digital song of the year, with 12.5 million track-equivalent units worldwide.
Ed Sheeran received the award for the Global Recording Artist of 2017 with the release of his third studio album ÷ (read as "divide") and its singles including "Shape of You", "Castle on the Hill", "Galway Girl", and "Perfect". He became the first IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year to have both the best-selling album and single of the year. Drake was awarded the Global Recording Artist of 2018, making him the first artist to win the award more than once. While not among the top-ten best-selling albums of the year, his album Scorpion was the first to reach 1 billion streams across all platforms worldwide. Swift matched Drake's achievement when she received the award again for 2019. Her album Lover was the second best-selling album of that year.