This month, the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) has been sharing year-end global sales numbers for 2019, and they declared that Taylor Swift was the world’s best-selling artist of the year, and that Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” was the best-selling single of the year. There are more figures to be rolled out, and today, they announced another list-topper, which might not be a household name to most of the English-speaking world: The best-selling album of 2019 was 5×20 All The Best!! 1999–2019, a greatest hits album by J-pop group Arashi.
#1 @arashi5official – 5×20 All the BEST!! 1999-2019
Containing all 56 singles released by the hugely successful Japanese band & a live video collection spanning 2 decades, ARASHI’s ultimate greatest hits album was #1 biggest global album of 2019! 👏👏👏#IFPIGlobalAlbumChart pic.twitter.com/F20s3vcvpD
— IFPI (@IFPI_org) March 19, 2020
The Japanese boy band beat out releases by esteemed artists like Swift (whose Lover came in second), BTS, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and The Beatles. While it may seem to some like Arashi came out of nowhere to claim the top spot, they really didn’t, as they’ve been a phenomenally huge success in Japan for decades.
Since their first release in 1999, every single Arashi released went No. 1 in Japan… except for four of them, but three of those peaked at No. 2 and the other topped out at No. 3. Every single they dropped from 2004 to 2019 topped the chart, which is good for a streak of 46 consecutive No. 1 singles, a feat that has never been approached (or even thought of as a realistic possibility) on the US charts. For reference, Whitney Houston has the most consecutive No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, and her record is 7. Katy Perry is the most recent artist to come close to that figure, as she had a run of five consecutive chart-topping songs in 2010 and 2011.
In 2019, 5×20 had the longest run at No. 1 on the Japanese charts of any album (with four weeks), beginning with its chart-topping debut week that came thanks to over 1.3 million copies sold. The compilation features 56 singles released by the group since 1999 along with a new song, the titular “5×20.”
Watch the video for Arashi’s 1999 debut single, “Arashi,” below.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.