The value of the U.K. classical music sector rose 8.5% in 2003 to £65 million ($120 million), according to a new survey published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Almost 1 million more

The value of the U.K. classical music sector rose 8.5% in 2003 to £65 million ($120 million), according to a new survey published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Almost 1 million more albums were shipped in 2003 than the year before, for a total of 14.02 million units, a year-on-year increase of 7.3%.

However, the gains are measured against a particularly difficult year for classical music in 2002. The classical sector would need to register a similar boost in 2004 to pull level with the £70.31 million ($129 million) recorded in 2001.

The best-selling classical album of 2003 was "Pure," the debut U.K. release from Decca artist Hayley Westenra. "Pure" shipped more than 710,000 copies last year in Britain alone, according to the label.

With the gains, classical's U.K. market share rose to 5.8% of total album shipments in 2003 from 5.5% in 2002. The BPI recently revealed that total album shipments last year were up 2.1% in value to £1.112 billion ($2.05 billion) and 4.9% in volume to 236 million units.