London, UK (January 12, 2006)–New figures released by UK record companies’ trade association the BPI show that a late Christmas sales boom, a rapidly expanding digital market and a growing appetite for homegrown talent contributed to U.K. music having one of its best years yet.
Despite gloomy retail reports throughout 2005, strong sales in the last few weeks of the year and the sustained success of British-signed artists helped end the year on a positive note. Sales of artist albums increased 1.4 percent on 2004–itself a record year–to enjoy their best year yet at 126.2 million units. This high comes after six years of year-on-year growth in artist album sales from 87.7m in 1999 to 126.2m in 2005, an increase of 44 percent in just six years.
The strength and attractiveness of artist albums put pressure on sales of compilations, which fell nearly 16 percent, but overall album sales were down just 2.7 percent.
BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said, “The rise of compilations and the Pop Idol phenomenon led some to suggest the days of the great artist album were numbered. On the contrary, strong investment in new talent means album sales are flourishing.”
The week between Christmas and New Year saw another significant milestone passed as weekly digital sales topped 1 million units for the first time. An uplift in digital sales in the final week of the year–much of it prompted by consumers who got new digital music players for Christmas–coupled with the race for the U.K. Christmas number one, saw almost 2 million downloads sold in the last two weeks of the year.
The figures were collated by the Official U.K. Charts Company, which monitors sales in almost 6,000 stores and internet sites across the U.K.
Official U.K. Charts Company