Pop albums outsell rock albums for the first time in seven years

Sales of guitar bands are at their lowest for nine years

Pop albums outsold rock albums for the first time in seven years in 2011, according to new figures released today (January 16).

According to official figures released by the Official Charts Company, seven of the top 10 selling albums of 2011 were classified as pop albums. With big sales from the likes of Adele and Jessie J, this gave pop albums a 33.6% share of album sales overall.

The sale of albums classified as rock albums fell from 31.2% to 29.4%, their lowest figures since 2003. This was despite the release of big-selling albums from Coldplay and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The sale of pop singles was also up, outselling rock singles by two to one across the year.

2011 was however a vintage year for the sale of folk music, with its share of albums sales rising to 1.6%, driven largely by the sales of Laura Marling and Bellowhead. Easy listening sales were at 7.9%, which was almost entirely caused by the popularity of Michael Buble.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said of the sales figures: “2011 was a vintage year for pop albums so it is hardly surprising that the genre has elbowed rock aside as the nation’s favourite. Although rock’s share is the lowest for eight years, it still accounts for three in ten of every albums sold so recent reports of its demise are premature.”

He continued: “Pop has managed to double its share of singles sales in the space of five years and now outsells rock by two-to-one. It’s no coincidence that over the same period dozens of vibrant, digital music services have launched in Britain, enabling younger music fans to buy and enjoy tracks online at pocket money prices.”