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Taylor Swift vs. Adele: Which Music Star Won 2015?

Both singers sold millions of albums and released record-setting music videos, but only one can come out on top

Taylor Swift didn’t release an album this year, but that didn’t stop her from ruling pop music for the vast majority of 2015.

Until Adele came barreling through late in the year, it looked like Swift was going to win the crown outright. But the British songstress broke record after record with the rollout of her third studio album, “25,” giving the “Bad Blood” singer a serious run for her money.

So which pop star came out on top in 2015? Let’s break it down:

Adele "25"


Album Sales
By withholding her album from streaming platforms, Adele drove sales of her third studio album into the stratosphere. “25” broke a record when it sold 3.38 million copies in its first week, then broke another when it sold 1.11 million more in its second week. Before Adele’s big comeback, Swift’s “1989” was actually the best-selling album of 2015 despite its 2014 release, but with over 7 million total sales in its first five weeks, “25” has easily blown that out of the water.

Winner: Adele

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 31: Taylor Swift (L) and Idina Menzel perform on Taylor Swift's 'The 1989 World Tour' at Raymond James Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Tim Boyles/LP5/Getty Images for TAS)

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Adele made quite the ruckus when she announced her tour dates in support of “25.” All 56 nights of the North American leg sold out within minutes, leaving fans distraught when they couldn’t get tickets.

All that hubbub couldn’t compete with the spectacle that was Swift‘s “1989 World Tour,” though. With 85 shows and a string of surprise celebrity guests, the pop star’s tour dominated social media for the entire summer and grossed over $250 million.

Winner: Taylor Swift

Music videos
With a long rollout on Swift’s social media accounts ahead of its premiere in May, anticipation for the “Bad Blood” video ran so hot that when it was finally released, it set a record for single-day views with 20.1 million in its first 24 hours.

But that record only held until Adele returned with the sepia-toned “Hello” video in October. Not only did it receive 27.7 million views in its first 24 hours, it has since gone on to receive more than 834 million total views, surpassing “Bad Blood’s” total of 683 million in five fewer months.

Winner: Adele


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Social Media
Adele’s social media presence is almost nonexistent. In an interview to promote “25,” she revealed that her management team has kept her off of social media to stop her from tweeting drunk.

Swift, on the other hand, has embraced social media as an huge part of her brand and leveraged it to keep herself in the public eye. In 2015 she became the most-followed person on Instagram.

Winner: Taylor Swift

<a href=Influence
Adele made headlines when she refused to put her new album on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, calling streaming “a bit disposable” in an interview with Time.

Where Adele refused to play ball, Swift changed the game, penning an open letter to Apple Music about unfair artist compensation. Within hours, Apple, one of the richest companies in the world, acquiesced and changed its business model based on her criticism.

Winner: Taylor Swift