One Direction, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran also boosted UK album sales stateside
Sam Smith led the British invasion, with ‘In the Lonely Hour’ becoming the year’s third best-selling album in the US, ahead of One Direction’s ‘Four’ at Number Nine. Arctic Monkeys, Bastille and Alt-J also helped boost the share, which stands at 12.2% for 2014, according to the new report by UK labels body BPI.
A similar boost has hit the singles market, where an 11.5 per cent share for UK artists – helmed by Smith, Bastille, Jessie J, Disclosure and Calvin Harris – marked a seven-year high for the territory.
The share has risen steadily since 2009, when it stood at less than 1 in 10 (9.6 per cent). As recently as 2013, no British artist featured in the Top 10 US best-sellers list.
It was previously revealed that the 10 best-selling albums released in the UK in 2014 were all by British artists, the first time UK acts have comprised the entire top 10 since records began.
Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith fared particularly well during 2014, with Sheeran’s second album ‘x’ selling 1.7 million copies, the highest yearly total since Adele‘s ’21’ in 2011. Smith’s debut ‘In The Lonely Hour’ sold more than a million copies too. They were the only artists to sell more than a million albums in the UK last year.
Sheeran’s ‘x’ was also the most-popular digital album of the year, with more than 471,000 copies of the album downloaded, and Sheeran also earning the title of most-streamed artist of the year, with Spotify alone confirming more than a billion streams of the Suffolk songwriter’s songs on their service.
These figures, along with statistics showing audio streaming in the UK doubled during 2014 to just under 15 billion streams, helped the UK music industry enjoy another year that generated more than £1 billion, roughly in line with 2013’s figure. The figures were provided by the British Phonographic Industry, the trade association of the British recorded music industry and body behind the BRIT Awards. Their chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “The remarkable success of British artists in 2014 is exciting news for the future. Our record labels are backing homegrown talent like Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and George Ezra, who in turn are catching fire around the world.”