Adele Vector Portrait
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vectorportal

Although music t-shirts continue to go from strength to strength, with music lovers keen to emblazon their passion on their chests, sadly the same cannot be said for many forms of music media.

There has been a sharp fall in the number of CD and digital albums sold, despite a slight resurgence of vinyl. The BPI released figures this week showing that there was an overall fall in combined digital and physical album sales of 5.6 per cent to 113.2 million last year, with CD album sales alone plummeting by 12.6 per cent year-on-year to 86.2 million.

The BPI blamed “chronic piracy” for the fall in physical album ownership and pointed the finger at the government for failing to tackle the problem. The music business association’s 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 the US tech giants.”

Despite this, CDs remained the British music-buyer’s favourite format in 2011, with 76.1 per cent of market share going to this medium, compared with just 23.5 per cent for digital music downloads and 0.3 per cent for vinyl, which apparently remains a niche market for analogue music buffs and DJs – although there was a 43.7 per cent increase in vinyl album sales last year, taking the total to 337,000. This is the highest sales figure for vinyl albums for six years.

There was notable growth in digital album downloads, with over 100,000 digital versions of 15 separate albums sold last year.

The best-selling album of the year – and of the 21st century so far – was Adele’s 21, which shifted an amazing 3.8 million copies. That’s over twice as many as the 1.8 million records sold by the previous year’s top placed artists Take That, who found success with their album progress.

Adele also did well in the end-of-year singles chart, with two placings. Her recorded and live performance of Someone Like You, which was recorded at last year’s Brit Awards sold a whopping 1.2 million copies in total, making the track the top-selling single of 2011. Her other single, Rolling In The Deep, ended the year in ninth place, the BPI said.

It was a good year in general for British acts, with five of the top-selling albums of 2011 made by UK artists.


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