U.K. Reports Singles Sales Record, Album Sales Drop for 2012

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Led by Gotye featuring Kimbra’s "Somebody That I Used To Know," 2012 was the biggest year on record for singles sales in the U.K., according to the country's Official Charts Company and the British Phonographic Industry.

But U.K. album sales fell 11.2 percent to 100.5 million copies after a banner year in 2011.

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" was the second best-selling single of the year in Britain, followed by Fun. ft. Janelle Monae's "We Are Young."

Total singles sales increased by 6 percent from 177.9 million in 2011 to 188.6 million in 2012, with digital sales accounting for 99.6 percent of that, according to the music sales tracking firm. The figure set the fifth consecutive annual U.K. singles sales record.

Meanwhile, the British ranking of albums of the year was led by Emeli Sande's debut album "Our Version Of Events," which sold 1.39 million copies in 2012. It was followed by Adele's "21," which was released in 2011 but sold another 786,000 copies last year, and Ed Sheeran's "+," which sold 784,000 times and was also first released in 2011.

The BPI said album sales fell compared with 2011 when "21" led the ranking with sales of 3.73 million. BPI data shows that CD album sales declined nearly 20 percent to 69.4 million copies, although digital album sales rose 14.8 percent to 30.5 million. U.K. artists made up 60 percent of 2012’s 40 biggest-selling albums in Britain, it said.

Said BPI CEO Geoff Taylor: “2012 was an encouraging year for U.K. 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." He added: “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."

Adele's "21" now has lifetime sales of 4.6 million in the U.K., making it the fourth biggest selling album of all-time in Britain, according to Wednesday's data.

Meanwhile, each of the 20 top-selling singles of the year sold more than 500,000 copies each, and the top nine crossed the 1 million barrier, according to the Official Charts Company.

"Somebody That I Used To Know" sold 1.32 million times in the U.K., "Call Me Maybe" more than 1.14 million times, and "We Are Young" 986,000 times. In 2011, Adele's "Someone Like You" led the chart with 1.24 million copies sold, ahead of Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera's "Moves Like Jagger" (1.04 million) and LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett and Goonrock's "Party Rock Anthem" (995,000).

Psy's "Gangnam Style" ranks sixth for the latest year with sales of 878,000.

U.K. artists account for 45 percent of the top 40 singles of 2012 in Britain, led by James Arthur's "Impossible" at number 5 and Jessie J's "Domino" at number 8.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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