And the biggest British debut album of 2016 is… hang on, what?

In amongst all this UK industry chatter about the death of the album and the plight of new British artists, there’s only one thing to do: look at the cold, hard facts.

As we covered earlier, the UK’s streaming charts of 2016 were dominated by North American acts: so much so that the market’s Top 10 most-streamed hits of the year contained just one song by one Brit – Calvin Harris.

For those worried about the future of breaking UK acts in their homeland, though, we have some reassuring news. Or not.

Only one brand new British act managed to sell a Gold debut album last year – that’s more than 100,000 copies.

And who was this red hot breaking artist?

A&R people – please make sure you’re sitting down.

Perhaps it was acclaimed Stockport five-piece Blossoms, whose self-titled debut album hit the UK top spot in August last year?

Nope. They just missed Gold, selling a credible 74,155 albums in the year, according to Official Charts Company stats passed to MBW by our label friends.

What about former One Directioner Zayn – propelled forward by his massive smash Pillowtalk?

Nope. His Mind Of Mine sold 65,208 copies in 2016 after being released in March.

Got to be BRIT-award winning Jack Garratt with his debut LP Phase?

Nah. 62,954.


Are you sure you’re ready for this?

The only all-new British act to release a Gold-selling debut album in the UK last year was…

Bradley Walsh.

The affable host of ITV gameshow The Chase.

Bradley Walsh.

The 56-year-old light entertainer who played Danny Baldwin in Corrie.

Bradley Walsh.

Buttons in Cinderella at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre from 2002-2003.

Bradley Walsh.

Walsh’s debut LP, Chasing Dreams, sold 111,650 copies last year after being released via Sony CG in October.

It was the UK’s 57th best-selling album of the year, and the biggest-selling debut LP by a Brit.

It out-sold efforts from the likes of Tom Odell and Biffy Clyro, as well as the Mercury Prize-winning Konichiwa by Skepta.

(Alfie Boe and Michael Ball did release a ‘debut album’ as a duo, Together – but both were well-established recording artists beforehand.)

Fair play Bradley. That’s some achievement.

In terms of what this says about the UK’s wider album market, however – not to mention the challenge of breaking new British artists in today’s world – well… possibly best we don’t go there, eh?

Oh wait. We already did.Music Business Worldwide

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