Ireland's Official biggest albums of 2021 revealed

Blockbuster releases from global breakthrough stars and returning music icons propel growth in Ireland’s singles and albums market

Olivia Rodrigo has claimed the biggest album of 2021 in Ireland, the Official Charts Company can reveal. 

New Official Charts and IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association) data shows that Ireland's singles and albums market has been powered by the continuing growth of both streaming and vinyl, thanks to international stars like Olivia and Ed Sheeran, as well as homegrown acts including Inhaler, Picture This and Dermot Kennedy. 

The albums sector has grown 11% to 4.16 million combined units across all formats, including impressive year-on-year growth of vinyl album sales - up 38% compared to 2020.

Vinyl accounted for nearly one tenth of the Irish albums market in 2021 (9.8%) with 407,000 vinyl records sold, up from 309,000 in 2020 and 218,000 in 2019). Resurgence of the vinyl format has helped power standout growth of 35% in the overall value of Ireland’s albums market to €18.477m, up from €13.676m in 2020. The biggest new release on wax was 30 by Adele, with the top seller overall being Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 classic Rumours.

This year’s global breakthrough artist Olivia Rodrigo dominated both the Irish Singles and Albums Charts in 2021, and the US star caps off an incredible year as her Number 1 debut album Sour finishes at the top of the end-of-year Irish Albums Chart Top 50. The return of music titan Ed Sheeran delivered Ireland’s top single of the year – Bad Habits.

IRMA spokesperson, Willie Kavanagh comments:

“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 ability of both digital and physical formats to coexist and thrive.”

“A special mention also to Inhaler for an outstanding breakthrough year, bringing home the biggest Irish debut album of the year, as well as becoming the first homegrown debut act to top the UK chart in over a decade too. Congratulations!”

MORE: Ireland's biggest songs of 2021

Olivia Rodrigo's Sour comes out top in our year-end biggest albums list, a great achievement for a debut artist seeing off competition from the likes of ABBA, Adele and Ed Sheeran. Sour logged a mighty 14 weeks at the top of the Irish Albums chart, the most for a female artist in five years, since Adele's 25 reigned at Number 1 for 16 non-consecutive weeks throughout 2015 and 2016. Sour also finishes the year as the most-streamed album in Ireland.

The biggest album released by an Irish artist last year was Picture This' Life In Colour, while Inhaler's It Won't Always Be Like This was the biggest debut album released by an artist in 2021.

The second biggest album in Ireland last year was courtesy of homegrown artiat Dermot Kennedy and his 2019 debut, Without Fear.

And despite only being released in November, Adele's 30 ends the year as the most downloaded and physically-purchased record of the year in Ireland, finishing in third place after nabbing the Christmas Number 1 spot. 

Ireland's Top 50 albums of 2021

Position Title Artist
1 SOUR OLIVIA RODRIGO
2 WITHOUT FEAR DERMOT KENNEDY
3 30 ADELE
4 FUTURE NOSTALGIA DUA LIPA
5 = ED SHEERAN
6 GREATEST HITS QUEEN
7 GOLD - GREATEST HITS ABBA
8 50 YEARS - DON'T STOP FLEETWOOD MAC
9 VOYAGE ABBA
10 FINE LINE HARRY STYLES
11 DIAMONDS ELTON JOHN
12 DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT LEWIS CAPALDI
13 DIVIDE ED SHEERAN
14 RUMOURS FLEETWOOD MAC
15 THE HIGHLIGHTS WEEKND
16 JUSTICE JUSTIN BIEBER
17 PLANET HER DOJA CAT
18 FOLKLORE TAYLOR SWIFT
19 SHOOT FOR THE STARS AIM FOR THE MOON POP SMOKE
20 CURTAIN CALL - THE HITS EMINEM
21 EVERMORE TAYLOR SWIFT
22 HAPPIER THAN EVER BILLIE EILISH
23 WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO BILLIE EILISH
24 CERTIFIED LOVER BOY DRAKE
25 GREATEST HITS BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
26 LEGEND BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS
27 DERMOT KENNEDY DERMOT KENNEDY
28 WE'RE ALL ALONE IN THIS TOGETHER DAVE
29 F**K LOVE KID LAROI
30 1989 TAYLOR SWIFT
31 DUA LIPA DUA LIPA
32 25 ADELE
33 LIFE IN COLOUR PICTURE THIS
34 1 BEATLES
35 HOZIER HOZIER
36 LEGACY DAVID BOWIE
37 RED (TAYLOR'S VERSION) TAYLOR SWIFT
38 SINGLES MAROON 5
39 LEGENDS NEVER DIE JUICE WRLD
40 GET TO KNOW BECKY HILL
41 U218 SINGLES U2
42 POSITIONS ARIANA GRANDE
43 GREATEST HITS PITBULL
44 LOVER TAYLOR SWIFT
45 AM ARCTIC MONKEYS
46 DONDA KANYE WEST
47 TIME FLIES - 1994-2009 OASIS
48 NUMBER ONES MICHAEL JACKSON
49 HIGH EXPECTATIONS MABEL
50 X ED SHEERAN

© 2022, IRMA/ Official Charts Company