Us Brits love our tunes...

The BRITISH PHONOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY today announced that UK music fans are the biggest music buyers in the world (March 22).

According to new figures, each Briton buys on average of 3.2 CDs per person per year.

Figures also released today by the BPI’s international counterpart, the IFPI, indicate that prospects for exports of UK signed repertoire around the world are improving, with the decline in the global music industry beginning to level out.

The news comes after the UK record industry announced its best ever year for album sales, with British-signed Scissor Sisters and Keane topping the album charts in 2004.

The UK market boasted an overall 3% increase in volume sales over 2004 and shifted a record 174.6 million units sold in the UK CD album market – a 4.5% growth which outperformed its international counterparts.

BPI chairman Peter Jameson said: “The strength of the UK market in the face of worldwide decline is a testament to the skills and courage of UK record companies who have never stopped taking risks in signing and developing some of the best talent in the world.”

He added: “Improving prospects for recorded music internationally is also good news for the UK since after the US we remain the world’s biggest exporter of music.”

The latest statistics follow recent BPI research showing that 55.4% of the UK population aged between 12 and 74 bought at least one album last year.

Last year also saw 200 million downloads sold in the world’s four leading markets – the US, UK, France and Germany.

Legal UK single-track purchases rose by 4% in 2004, with 5.7 million downloads sold.

With album bundles and sales of digital EPs also good in the UK, the Official UK Charts Company have estimated that the total UK market for downloads topped 9 million units in 2004.

Jamieson said: “The main choice today’s music fan now has to make is whether to get music legally or illegally. As these figures show, more and more music fans are now making the right choice and helping make great British music.”