UK: album sales decline 5.6% in 2011

Album sales numbers in the UK fell by 5.6% in 2011 to 113.2m units, despite the release of Adele‘s record-breaking 21 in January.

CD albums claimed a 76.1% share of the market, although unit sales of LPs on the formatĀ dropped 12.6% year-on-year to 86.2m in total. Digital albums took a 23.5% share, with unit sales rising 26.6% to 26.6m.

Sales of vinyl LPs climbed by over a third (43.7%) during 2011 to 337,000, their highest tally since 2005.

In the singles market, sales figures hit record highs. Total 2011 UK singles sales increased 10.0% overall to 177.9m in 2011, 99.3% of which were sold digitally. 1.1m CD singles were sold in 2011 – just 0.6% of the total market.

Discussing the numbers, Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, said: “British artists continue to produce incredible music that resonates at home and around the world. But while other countries take positive steps to protect their creative sector, our Government is taking too long to act on piracy, while weakening copyright to the benefit of US tech giants.

“The UK has already fallen behind Germany as a music market. Unless decisive action is taken in 2012, investment in music could fall again – a creative crunch that will destroy jobs and mean the next Adele may not get her chance to shine on the world stage.”

2011 in numbers for the UK recorded music market (Official Charts Company/BPI data)


Total albums

2010 – 119.9m

2011 – 113.2m (-5.6%)

CD Albums

2010 – 98.5m

2011 – 86.2m (-12.6%)

Digital Albums

2010 – 21m

2011 – 26.6m (+26.6%)


Total Singles

2010 – 161.8m

2011 – 177.9m (+10%)Music Business Worldwide

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