Record-breaking Adele fails to save UK music industry

MUSIC sales in the UK continued their downward slide last year despite an increase in digital sales, industry body BPI said yesterday, as it blamed the government for failing to tackle piracy.

The voice of the British music industry – and the force behind the Brit Awards – yesterday released figures from The Official Charts Company showing that total album sales fell just under six per cent to 113.2m in 2011, though sales of albums in digital format rose over 25 per cent to 26.6m.

CD album sales dropped more than 12 per cent to 86.2m but still accounted for over three quarters of all album sales, with 23.5 per cent of the market share coming from digital sales and 0.3 per cent from vinyl records.

Despite this decline, the UK singles market smashed sales records for the fourth consecutive year with singles sales climbing 10 per cent to almost 178m last year. CDs failed to dominate this market, however, accounting for just 0.6 per cent (1.1m) of singles bought compared to 99.3 per cent from digital purchases.

Adele’s second album, 21, is the highest selling album of the 21st century, selling a total of 3.8m copies. The singer ranked twice in both the top five albums chart and the top 10 singles chart as last year drew to a close.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “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. Unless decisive action is taken in 2012, investment in music could fall again.”

TOP SELLING ALBUMS OF 2011
1 ADELE
21

2 MICHAEL BUBLÉ
Christmas

3 BRUNO MARS
Doo-Wops & Hooligans

4 ADELE
19

5 COLDPLAY
Mylo Xyloto

6 RIHANNA
Loud

7 LADY GAGA
Born This Way

8 JESSIE J
Who You Are

9 ED SHEERAN
+

10 RIHANNA
Talk That Talk

Digital sales
26.6m
▲25%

CD sales
86.2m
▼12%

Adele, Rihanna and Michael Bublé all released top-selling albums in 2011
Source: BPI