Album sales down for the seventh year in a row

But digital sales are up 26.6% from 2010

Album sales in the UK were down for a seventh successive year in 2011.

According to the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) – via The Guardian – last year album sales fell by 5.6% to 113.2 million. This is down from a peak of 163.4 million back in 2004.

Digital album sales actually rose by 26.6% to 26.6 million, but CD album sales dropped by 12.6% to 86.2 million. Even so, CD is still the UK’s most popular format to purchase music, with a 76.1% share of the market, with 23.5% on digital and 0.3% on vinyl.

Chief executive of the BPI, Geoff Taylor, said: “British music fans understand that the album remains the richest way to connect with an artist’s work… Digital developments grab the headlines, but the CD remains hugely popular with consumers, accounting for three-quarters of album sales.”

He added: “Physical ownership is important to many fans and the CD will be a key element of the market for years to come.”

Adele was 2011’s biggest album sellers, shifting 3.8 million units of ’21’, which sold double the amount of copies of 2010’s biggest seller, Take That‘s ‘Progress’.

Though album sales dropped, last year singles sales in the UK were up 10% to 177.9 million. Adele also claimed the UK’s top selling single, with 1.2 million copies sold of her live performance of ‘Someone Like You’.