Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) was the best-selling album of last year and “Shape of You” was the best-selling single, London-based IFPI said in its announcement.
Sheeran is the fifth recipient of the Global Recording Artist of the Year Award after One Direction (2013), Taylor Swift (2014), Adele (2015) and Drake (2016).
“The success Ed has achieved is astonishing and testament to his ability to write and perform songs that connect with a truly global fanbase,” IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said in a statement.
Drake came second in the ranking, followed by Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, Linkin Park and The Chainsmokers.
The ranking includes digital and physical album and single sales, as well as audio streaming.
Max Lousada, chief executive of Warner Music UK, said Sheeran’s “ability to tell stories and make people feel is what stands him out from the crowd”.
Sheeran lost out to grime star Stormzy at the Brit Awards in London last week but earlier this month took Best Pop Solo performance at the Grammies in New York for “Shape of You”. —AFP