2010s: The Best-Selling and Most Streamed Albums of the Decade

Dina Mouhandes on 17 December 2019
2010s: The Best-Selling and Most Streamed Albums of the Decade

So, it’s January 2010, and you’re minding your own business. Justin Bieber has just come on the scene and Bad Romance by Lady Gaga is ALL you want to listen to.

Then, before you know it, you blink, and it’s December 2019 and your now adult self is sat there thinking - “does this mean I have to make my own dentist appointments now…?”

Seriously, where has the time gone? We are at the end of a DECADE… Let. That. Sink. In. Justin Bieber is actually 40 now (lol jk).

As we look back at the decade that introduced us to social media giants like Instagram, ridiculous internet trends like the Harlem Shake, and the word ‘Selfie’, we also look back at the albums and music artists that saw us through it.

So, to help celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of the most streamed and best selling albums of the 2010s.



Best-selling album - Recovery, Eminem

Most streamed album - Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars

Image Source 

Left: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_(Eminem_album)

Right: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Doo-Wops-Hooligans-Bruno-Mars/dp/B004BOJM64

Eminem has just casually smashing the charts for 3 decades, and 2010 was no exception. While Bruno Mars accidentally became the most popular artist for first dances at weddings in the 2010s.


Best-selling album - 21, Adele

Most streamed album - 21, Adele

Image Source: https://www.spin.com/2015/11/adele-21-how-good/

It’s a double win for Adele, you go Glenn Coco!


Best-selling album - Adele, 21

Most streamed album - Night Visions, Imagine Dragons

Image Source:

Left: https://www.spin.com/2015/11/adele-21-how-good/

Right: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Visions

Adele continued her reign in 2012 with her best-selling Sophomore album, while Imagine Dragons topped the most streamed album chart.


Best-selling album - Midnight Memories, One Direction

Most streamed album - AM, Arctic Monkeys

Image source:

Left: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Memories

Right: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18386-arctic-monkeys-am/

The year the world (well the 4 million who bought this album) fell ever further in love with One Direction. Arctic Monkeys also released their album before taking a 5 year hiatus.


Best-selling album - Frozen, Various Artists

Most streamed album - X, Ed Sheeran

Image Source:

Left: https://www.amazon.com/Frozen-Various/dp/B00FGWTOBI

Right: https://www.amazon.co.uk/X-Ed-Sheeran/dp/B00JKGYV6E

Do you remember the year you couldn’t go a week without hearing someone belt at the top of their lungs “LET IT GOOOOOO”? And the same year everyone’s first dance at their wedding song was probably Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ after the release of second album. 

Ed Sheeran has also been crowned the 2nd most streamed artist of the 2010s. Fabulous!


Best-selling album - 25, Adele

Most streamed album - Purpose, Justin Bieber

Image Source:

Left: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/25_(Adele_album)

Right: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purpose_(Justin_Bieber_album)

Adele dazzled us once again with the best-selling album of 2015, while Justin Bieber came back on the scene with an album that gave us absolute bangers like ‘What Do You Mean’ and ‘Sorry’. 


Best-selling album - Lemonade, Beyonce

Most streamed album - Views, Drake

Image Source:

Left: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemonade_(Beyonc%C3%A9_album)

Right: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Views_(album)

Flash forward to 2016 and Beyonce breaks the internet with the release of her album Lemonade while Drake dominated streaming charts with Views.

Drake, has also recently been crowned as the MOST streamed artist of the 2010s. What an achievement.


Best-selling album - ÷ (Divide), Ed Sheeran

Most streamed album - ÷ (Divide), Ed Sheeran

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%B7_(album)

Ed Sheeran made his comeback 3 years after his other record breaking album by topping both the lists for best-selling and most streamed album of 2017.


Best-selling album - The Greatest Showman, Various Artists

Most streamed album - Beerbongs & Bentleys, Post Malone

Image Source:

Left: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Greatest-Showman-Original-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B07629RLTC

Right: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beerbongs_%26_Bentleys

The world had only just about moved on from yelling “LET IT GO”, and it was replaced with “THIS IS ME” with the release of The Greatest Showman movie and soundtrack. The world also had to come to terms with barbed wire face tattoos, which are really a thing now thanks to Post Malone.

And alongside both Drake and Ed Sheeran, Post Malone has taken 3rd place as the most streamed artist of the decade. 

2019 (so far…) 

Best-selling album - The Greatest Showman, Various Artists

Most streamed album - When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Ellish

Image Source:

Left: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Greatest-Showman-Original-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B07629RLTC

Right: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_We_All_Fall_Asleep,_Where_Do_We_Go%3F

We know there’s still a few weeks left of the year, so we’re giving you the best-selling and most streamed album figures so far. The Greatest Showman is continuing its reign, whilst teen sensation Billie Ellish is absolutely killing the 2019 charts with her debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

So, there you have it. The number one albums of the decade. What was your fave?

Dina Mouhandes
Dina Mouhandes on 17 December 2019