UK album sales drop by 10 percent in 2012

Singles sales continue to rise however as official statistics are revealed

The sales of albums in the UK fell by 10 percent in 2012.

The statistics, released by the BPI, also reveal that the CD album market shrunk by a fifth, with sales of albums on CD down 19.5 percent year-on-year with only 69.4m albums sold.

Sales of digital and physical albums combined fell overall again by 11.2 percent to 100.5m over the past 12 months – although singles sales hit a new high.

Despite the overall fall, 16 albums released in 2012 sold over 100,000 copies and digital album sales rose 14.8 percent to 30.5m. Emeli Sande’s ‘Our Version Of Events’ was the best selling album of the year, selling 1.4m copies.

Moreover, the UK singles market continued its boom with sales records being broken for the fifth successive year – 188.6m singles were sold in 2012, a rise of six percent. A staggering 99.6 percent of these sales came through digital releases. Reflective of the popularity of singles in 2012 is the fact that all of the top twenty selling songs shifted over half a million copies each.

Speaking to Music Week, Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, said, “2012 was an encouraging year for UK 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.

“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 on the high street.

“However, the quality of our music and digital innovation by UK labels means we have excellent potential for domestic growth and to increase our share of the global music market. We hope Government will recognise the potential of digital music to contribute to economic recovery and provide more active support in 2013.”

The top ten selling UK albums and Singles in 2012 according to official BPI data were as follows:


Emeli Sande – Our Version Of Events
Adele – 21
Ed Sheeran – +
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
One Direction – Up All Night
Mumford & Sons – Babel
Olly Murs – Right Place, Right Time
Michael Buble – Christmas
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Rihanna – Unapologetic


Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
Carley Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Fun feat Janelle Monae – We Are Young
David Guetta – Titanium
James Arthur – Impossible
Psy – Gangam Style
Nicki Minaj – Starships
Jessie J – Price Tag
Maroon 5 – Payphone
Flo-Rida – Wild Ones