Despite on-going growth in the digital market, U.K. album sales fell by 12.7% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2012, according to new market data released by British labels trade body the BPI.
Total U.K. album sales -- comprising both physical and digital -- amounted to 20.6 million in the second quarter, down from 23.5 million in the same period the previous year, according to BPI and Official Charts Company (OCC) figures. Total first-half 2012 album sales were 43.6 million, a 13.8% fall on the 50.5 million albums sold in the first half of 2011.
The digital album market, nevertheless, grew 15% in the second quarter (compared to the same period the previous year), with digital accounting for 34.7% of all albums sold. Year-to-date digital albums sales were up 17.3% from the first half of 2011.
The U.K. singles market also continues to grow, with 46.9 million singles sold in the second quarter, up 8.3% year-on-year from 43.3 million the previous year. A total of 93.6 million singles were sold in the United Kingdom in the first half of the year, up 6.3% from 88 million in 2011. Digital has long been the dominant format in the U.K. singles market and has accounted for 100% of sales of the top-selling singles of 2012 to date.
The best-selling artist album of 2012 year-to-date is unsurprisingly Adele's 21 (XL Recordings), a feat that the recently-announced mother-to-be also achieved with the same record in the first half of 2011. Our Version Of Events (Virgin/EMI) by Emeli Sandé is the second-biggest artist seller of 2012 so far, with Lana Del Rey's Born To Die (Polydor/Universal) at No.3. Sales figures were not provided.
Gotye's universal hit single "Somebody That I Used To Know" featuring Kimbra (Island/Universal) is the highest-selling single in the U.K. year-to-date, having sold more than a million units, according to the BPI/OCC. The second biggest-selling single is "Call Me Maybe" (Polydor/Universal) by Carly Rae Jepsen and "Titanium" (Virgin/EMI) by David Guetta featuring Sia sits at No. 3.
"We've had another solid quarter of digital growth in sales volumes -- both in albums and on singles, where the top 10 were exclusively sold as digital downloads," said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor in a statement. "Album unit sales are down quite significantly year-on-year, but it's important to remember that these unit sales figures do not take into account the growing importance of music streaming and subscription services," continued Taylor, citing upcoming releases from the Killers, Plan B, Joss Stone, Mumford & Sons, Robbie Williams, Muse and One Direction, among others, as tent-pole releases that give cause for optimism going forward.