UK album sales down by almost seven million during first half of 2012

Digital sales are up by 17.3%, but it's not enough to close the gap

The number of albums sold in the UK fell by almost seven million from the same period in 2011, according to figures published today (July 3) by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

43.6 million albums were sold in the first half of 2012, which is a fall of 6.9 million from the first half of 2011, when 50.5 million albums were shifted.

Overall, digital sales are up again by 17.3%, with sales of singles up by 6% overall. In total, 93.6 million singles were bought in the first half of 2012, up from 88 million during the same period last year.

In terms of artist sales, Adele‘s ’21’ remains the biggest seller of the year so far, with Emeli Sande’s ‘Our Version Of Events’ in second and Lana Del Rey‘s Born To Die’ in third place.

Gotye’s monster hit ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ is the year’s biggest selling single, with sales of over one million so far. It is followed by Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ and David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’.

Speaking about the figures, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “We’ve had another solid quarter of digital growth in sales volumes, both in albums and on singles. Album unit sales are down quite significantly year-on-year. But it’s important to remember that these unit sales figures do not take into account the growing importance of music streaming and subscription services.”

Taylor also said that the second half of 2012 was looking “promising” as the likes of Mumford & Sons, Robbie Williams, The Killers, The Vaccines, Muse and Plan B are all set to release new albums.