Who were Universal’s most important artists in 2014?

Universal Music Group might have made less money in 2014 than it did in 2013 – but its ten biggest ‘artists’ combined were more popular than they were the year before.

There is a reason for those inverted commas: according to new information revealed by the company, its biggest-selling release of last year wasn’t from a performer at all, but the soundtrack to movie Frozen.

Across sales of physical and digital – taking into account albums, tracks, DVD and streaming – the Frozen OST sold 10m albums and ‘album equivalents’ across the world (ie. LP sales plus data from the weighting system that sees downloads and streams of single tracks clumped together as ‘albums’).

Frozen aside, two thirds of Universal’s biggest-selling artists were solo female acts.

Taylor Swift was the biggest-selling artist of the year for UMG, with 8.8m album or album equivalent sales, followed by Sam Smith (4.6m), Katy Perry (4.2m), Maroon 5 (3.7m) and Ariana Grande (3.6m).

Eminem, Lana Del Rey, Helene Fischer and Lorde rounded out the list.

UMG: Biggest acts in 2014

  1. Frozen (10m album or album equivalent sales)
  2. Taylor Swift (8.8m)
  3. Sam Smith (4.6m)
  4. Katy Perry (4.2m)
  5. Maroon 5 (3.7m)
  6. Ariana Grande (3.6m)
  7. Eminem (3.5m)
  8. Lana Del Rey (3m)
  9. Helene Fischer (2.9m)
  10. Lorde (2.9m)

Total: 47.2m

UMG: Biggest acts in 2013

  1. Eminem (8.3m)
  2. Katy Perry (6m)
  3. Rihanna (4.9m)
  4. Imagine Dragons (4.4m)
  5. Luke Bryan (4.1m)
  6. Lady GaGa (4m)
  7. Drake (3.9m)
  8. Justin Bieber (3.8m)
  9. Taylor Swift (3.6m)
  10. The Beatles (3.4m)

Total: 46.4m

 Music Business Worldwide

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