UK: album sales drop 11.2% in 2012

Annual album sales in the UK declined by 11.2% in 2012 despite singles sales reaching a record high point.

According to BPI figures, sales of CD albums were hardest hit, dropping 19.5% year-on-year to 69.4m in total. Combined, digital and physical albums fell by 11.2% to 100.5m.

Digital album sales rose 14.8% to 30.5m to take a 30.4% share of all albums, but CD accounted for more than two-thirds (69.1%) of total sales. Vinyl claimed just 0.4% of album unit sales.

Track sales volume in the UK singles market broke records for the fifth year in a row. Total singles sales grew 6.0% to 188.6m in 2012. 99.6% of these sales were of digital tracks/bundles.

Brits streamed audio tracks more than 3.7 billion times during 2012, according to Official Charts Company figures.

Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye ft Kimbra, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen and Titanium by David Guetta ft Sia were the three most-streamed tracks of the year.

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, said, “2012 was an encouraging year for UK artists and for music’s digital future. Digital albums grew strongly and singles sales hit a new record. Music fans are now streaming billions of songs from new services enabled by record labels.

“The Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympics provided a great showcase for British music internationally, but market conditions at home remained difficult and pressure on the ‘leisure wallet’ impacted music sales on the high street.

“However, the quality of our music and digital innovation by UK labels means we have excellent potential for domestic growth and to increase our share of the global music market. We hope Government will recognise the potential of digital music to contribute to economic recovery and provide more active support in 2013.”

Tony Wadsworth, BPI Chairman, added: “British artists continue to resonate strongly with music fans in their home territory, with albums by Emeli Sande, Adele and Ed Sheeran topping the end-of-year charts.

“The domestic success of albums from Mumford & Sons and One Direction has been replicated abroad – both British acts have achieved massive success in the US.”

Our Version Of Events by Emeli Sande was the biggest selling album in the UK in 2012, selling 1.4m copies in total.

See the full stats from the BPI below:

BPI 2012 stats

Music Business Worldwide

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