Irish charts company IRMA have released their top 50 list of the biggest singles and albums in Irish music in 2021.
A mixture of old and new show up on the list, with Ed Sheeran unsurprisingly claiming the biggest hit of the year with ‘Bad Habits’, which clocked up 140,000 sales and streams of 18.6 million.
The track spent 11 weeks at the top of the Irish Singles Charts, which helped the singer spend 18 weeks total at the top over the course of 2021.
Sheeran also claimed the Irish Christmas number one for 2021 with ‘Merry Christmas’ with Elton John.
2021’s biggest musical success story Olivia Rodrigo made her presence felt on the singles charts and album charts, with the teenage sensation claiming numbers 2 and 3 on the biggest-selling singles charts and the number one album in 2021.
Rodrigo’s debut album ‘Sour’ outsold established stars like Dermot Kennedy, Adele, Dua Lipa and ABBA to claim the number one Irish album of 2021.
Rodrigo’s singles ‘Driver’s License and ‘Good 4 U’ claimed 2 and 3 on the list of the best-selling singles.
Dermot Kennedy was the most successful Irish artist on both lists, with his 2020 Christmas number one single ‘Giants’ carrying over into 2021 and landing at number 11 on the singles list, and his hit 2019 album ‘Without Fear’ remarkably claiming the slot of the 2nd-biggest selling album of 2021.
TikTok’s power and influence became more acutely felt on the singles charts, with songs that owe a large part of their chart success to the social media app helping songs appear on the list of the best-selling singles.
This is apparent with the inclusion of Glass Animals’ sleeper hit ‘Heat Waves’ which entered the top 40 in the first week of January, peaked at number 5 in April, recharted at number 6 again in September, and is still in the top 30 at time of writing.
The song was ubiquitous on TikTok all year, and after years of underground success in Ireland and their native UK, the indie rock band hit the mainstream in 2021.
The TikTok effect can also be cited as the main reason behind Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 track ‘Dreams’ placing at 41 on the singles list, with the song seeing a resurgence in sales and streams thanks to its popularity on the app.
Acts such as ABBA and Fleetwood Mac continued to show their cross-generational appeal in 2021, with both acts having two albums apiece in the list of the 20-biggest selling albums of 2021.
‘Voyage’, ABBA’s first album of new material for 40 years, placed at number 9, but even ABBA themselves couldn’t outsell ‘ABBA Gold’, which placed at number 7.
IRMA spokesperson Willie Kavanagh said “during challenging times for many businesses and sectors, we’re delighted to see resilience and growth in the Irish music market.”
“While premium audio has powered the expansion of the singles landscape, the continued adoption and collectability of vinyl means the format now makes up one-tenth of album consumption and has played an important role in driving up the value of Ireland’s albums market by over a third this year.”
“There’s never been more ways for Irish music fans to access their favourite music, and these robust market numbers for 2021 demonstrate the …….