In a year which saw overall album sales slip slightly, local content was king, new sales data for the 2006 British recorded music market indicates.

Over the course of the year, U.K. acts accounted for a 61.9% share of the country's 100 best-selling albums, the highest percentage reported since 1997, according to data compiled by the Official U.K. Charts Company and reported by the BPI on Friday (Jan. 5).

Snow Patrol's "Eyes Open" (Fiction) was the best-selling album of the year, racking up total sales of 1,514,554 units (5 times platinum). Seven of the top 10 best-sellers were recorded by British bands, both new and established. The list includes Take That's "Beautiful World," (Polydor) at No. 2, Arctic Monkeys' debut "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" (Domino) at No. 4, The Kooks' debut "Inside In/Inside Out" (Virgin) at No. 5, Razorlight's "Razorlight" (Vertigo) at No. 6, Oasis' hits compilation "Stop the Clocks" (Big Brother) at No. 7, and James Morrison's first set "Undiscovered" (Polydor) at No. 10.

The other albums to crack the top 10 were U.K.-signed, N.Y. act Scissor Sisters' "Ta Dah" (Polydor), Irish pop group Westlife's "The Love Album" (S) and American pop singer Pink's "I'm Not Dead" (LaFace).

"Two years ago we predicted we were entering a new golden age for British music," comments BPI chairman Peter Jamieson in a statement. "These numbers confirm that British music is going through an outstandingly creative period which is capturing the imagination of music buyers."

Total album sales during the period decreased to 155.1 million units, down 2.5% from 2005. Digital sales now comprise 1.4% of the total.

As previously reported, digital downloads gave a shot in the arm to the singles market, helping push sales up 39.7%. Downloads accounted for 79% of all singles sales, led by Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (Warner Bros.), which shifted more than 400,000 downloads.

Including downloads, 66.9 million singles were sold in 2006, the highest total since 1999.