The Music Power 100 poll compiled by the Guardian newspaper saw the 23-year-old singer – who has topped the UK album charts for 16 weeks running this year with 21 – take top spot.
Second place on the list were Lucian Grainge and David Joseph, the executive heads of Universal Music Group and Universal Music UK respectively. Simon Cowell came in third place, with Radio 1’s music policy executive Nigel Harding fourth.
At number five was iTunes UK, followed by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, the founders of YouTube. Radio 1’s head of music George Ergatoudis was seventh, with the co-founders of Google – Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt – at number eight.
In ninth was SJM Concerts boss Simon Moran while the president of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, rounded off the top ten.
The list was decided by a music industry panel and focussed mainly on industry figures and the teams behind the success of artists. Adele was voted top after she managed to hit number one in 15 countries with 21 and sell six million copies of the album in a time when album sales are declining.
Richard Russell, from her record label XL, said the secret to her success was the lack of gimmicks in her music.
“The whole message with her is, it’s just music. There’s no gimmicks, there’s no selling of sexuality,” Mr Russell told the Guardian.
“Adele is the most powerful force in music at the moment. It is very refreshing to see something so successful done in such a sensitive way.”