UK album sales down by almost 6 per cent in 2011

Number of CDs being sold decreases, but vinyl and digital sales are on the up…

UK album sales for 2011 have fallen by almost six per cent, according to statistics revealed by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

Although Adele‘s LP ’21’ sold 3.8 million copies in 2011 to become the biggest ever-selling album in a single year, the BPI’s figures showed that combined digital and physical album sales were down by 5.6 per cent when compared to 2010’s numbers.

In particular, sales of CDs fell by 12.6 per cent to 82.2 million, although digital album sales rose by 24 per cent to 26.6 million and sales of vinyl LPs increased by 43.7 per cent to 337,000 – its highest figure since 2005.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said that although it was “encouraging” to see the increase in popularity of digital album sales, the Government still needed to tackle piracy to help protect the UK music industry.

“While other countries take positive steps to protect their creative sector, our Government is taking too long to act on piracy, while weakening copyright to the benefit of US tech giants,” he said.

“The UK has already fallen behind Germany as a music market. Unless decisive action is taken in 2012, investment in music could fall again – a creative crunch that will destroy jobs and mean the next Adele may not get her chance to shine on the world stage.”

Adele‘s ’21’ hasn’t just dominated the charts in the UK. Last month, it was revealed that it had become the first album to sell more than 5 million copies in a year in the US since 2004. Her debut album, ’19’, is also the second biggest-selling album in the UK this year, having shifted over 1.1 million copies in 2011.