Coldplay's X&Y was the biggest selling album in the world last year.
The album, Coldplay's third, sold 8.3 million copies globally, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, beating Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi, which sold 7.7 million copies, and 50 Cent's The Massacre, which sold 7.5 million.
The figures confirmed 2005 as a triumphant year for a band once derided by Alan McGee - the founder of Creation records - as making music for "bedwetters".
Conor McNicholas, the editor of NME, said Coldplay's success stemmed from their talent for creating radio-friendly songs with indy rock credibility. "Coldplay have the fantastic ability to appeal both to musos and to people who know nothing about music. They still have a legacy of credibility from their independent roots, but they are able to create enormous grand pop songs which reach out to everybody," he said.
Rumours that X&Y would not be released on time prompted EMI shares to drop, and the album benefited from a massive marketing campaign. "EMI could not afford for it to fail. In a business sense this album got as much support as it is possible to get," said Mr McNicholas.
The Black Eyed Peas' album Monkey Business came fourth, followed by American Idiot by Green Day, Madonna, Eminem, Kelly Clarkson, James Blunt and Robbie Williams.