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In the U.S. – described by the music industry trade body the BPI as the world’s most competitive music market – British music staged “something of an invasion,” accounting for one in seven (13.7 percent) of artist albums sold in 2012, the biggest share on record.
Adele, One Direction’s two albums and Mumford & Sons claimed four of the five biggest-selling artist albums stateside last year.
Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sande also made the global top 20.
Adele‘s 21 topped the global best seller chart for the second year running, the first album to do so resulting in the fact that U.K. acts have taken the title of world’s top-selling album for five of the past six years, only interrupted by Eminem in 2010 with his album Recovery.
One Direction had the third and fourth biggest global sellers last year in Up All Night and Take Me Home respectively.
The BPI said sales of albums by U.K. artists accounted for 13.3 percent of the worldwide total in 2012, up on 2011’s tally of 12.6 percent.
The record-setting highs garnered the attention of British prime minister David Cameron, who noted the valuable contribution to the economy British artists and tunes make.
“We should be extremely proud of how our world-leading music industry continues to go from strength to strength,” Cameron said. “British music is enjoyed across the world and we will keep backing our creative industries that support jobs, create opportunities and contribute to the economy.”
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor described music as being “fundamental to Britain’s identity as a nation” noting that “the world is singing with us.”
Said Taylor: “As music goes digital, Britain has the potential to be even more successful, connecting instantly with fans who love our music wherever they may live. The time is right for government to back innovative businesses like music that can lead the economy back to growth.”
In the U.K. 52 percent of all albums sold were by British acts, with Emeli Sande‘s debut Our Version of Events the biggest seller of 2012.
Best selling albums globally, 2007-12
2012 Adele 21
2011 Adele 21
2010 Eminem Recovery
2009 Susan Boyle I Dreamed A Dream
2008 Coldplay Viva La Vida
2007 Amy Winehouse Back To Black
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