U.K. experiences album volume slump


LONDON -- The U.K. albums market experienced a double-digit decline in volume during 2007, according to figures from labels body the BPI.

Album sales fell by 10.8% last year to 138.1 million units. The trade body notes, however, that album sales remain 26% above the level of 10 years ago. Value figures were not released.

"This remains a period of transition, and the industry's move to tap into a wider pool of revenue streams, particularly in digital, will take time to offset the combined impact of digital piracy, album unbundling and difficult retail trading conditions," BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said.

There was some positive news, however. Growth in sales of single-track downloads boosted the U.K. singles market by 29.3%. The figures, combining physical and digital sales monitored on behalf of the Official U.K. Charts Co., show that 2007 was the third-biggest year on record for singles in Britain, indicating a major turnaround for the once-ailing sector.

The BPI also points to a strong performance by British talent. As previously reported, Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" was the top-selling album of 2007, closely followed by Leona Lewis' "Spirit."

"The U.K. market has shown considerable resilience in recent years while global recorded music markets have declined," Taylor said. "Home-grown talent continues to shine, with strong new releases from Leona Lewis, Newton Faulkner and Arctic Monkeys joining Amy Winehouse and Mika in the year's best-sellers list."