MONACO British band Coldplay was crowned the world's top-selling act of 2008 at the World Music Awards (WMAs) in Monaco.
Their latest album "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," released mid-year, topped charts in the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, France and elsewhere.
Sales apparently benefited from Coldplay's marketing strategy, including giving away the first single free over the Internet for a week and staging a series of free concerts before embarking on an international tour.
The band was also named the WMA's rock act of the year at an awards ceremony, although they were not there to accept it. Beyonce and Kid Rock were among the performers on the night.
The annual awards honor artists based on worldwide sales figures provided by IFPI, a London-based body representing the recording industry.
The female pop award went to Britain's Leona Lewis, who outsold Madonna and Mariah Carey, while the male pop category was won by U.S. singer Kid Rock, who released the album "Rock N Roll Jesus" late in 2007.
Troubled British singer Amy Winehouse, whose private life and battle with addiction have overshadowed her career success, was named female pop/rock act of the year, while Kid Rock made it a brace by winning the pop/rock male award.
Alicia Keys won the world's best R&B category while Lewis capped a triumphant year with the new artist prize.
Lil Wayne of the United States was named world's top hip-hop/rap artist, while Senegal-born Akon was crowned biggest Internet artist of the year.
On behalf of his old band The Beatles, Ringo Starr was in Monaco to accept the diamond award, created in 2001 to honor artists who have sold more than 100 million albums during their career.
According to the WMA, the Fab Four have sold more records than any other act in history, with music sales estimated by their label at more than 1 billion records worldwide.
U.S. record executive L.A. Reid also received a prize for outstanding contribution to the music industry.
(Writing by Mike Collett-White)