Pop Leads U.K. Album Sales for Second Year Running

Big-selling albums from Emeli Sandé, Adele, Ed Sheeran and One Direction ensured that pop remained the most-popular genre in the United Kingdom in 2012, according to new figures released by the Official Charts Company (OCC) and British labels trade body the BPI.

For a second consecutive year, pop artist releases accounted for over a third (33.5%) of U.K. album sales, virtually equal to 2011's tally of 33.6% and the genre's second-highest share of the albums market since 1999. As previously reported, Emeli Sandé's studio debut 'Our Version of Events' (Virgin/EMI) was the best-selling artist album in the U.K. in 2012, moving 1.4 million units according to the OCC. Other pop chart-toppers included Adele's '21' (XL Recordings), One Direction's 'Up All Night' (Syco/Sony), Ed Sheeran's '+' (Atlantic/Warner) Lana Del Rey's 'Born To Die' (Polydor/Universal).

For a fourth consecutive year, pop also dominated U.K. singles sales, accounting for 38.5% of all singles sales - up from 36% the previous year and the genre's highest percentage since 2002, when it had a 51.8% market share. Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" (Polydor/Universal) was the highest-selling pop single in 2012.

Meanwhile, strong sales of Mumford & Sons' 'Babel' (Gentlemen Of The Road/Island/Universal) and Coldplay's 'Mylo Xyloto' (Parlophone/EMI) helped boost rock's share of the albums market to 31.3%, up from 29.4% in 2011. The Killers' 'Battle Born' (Vertigo), Muse's 'The 2nd Law' (Helium 3/Warner Bros.) and Florence + The Machine's 'Ceremonials' (Island/Universal) were among the genre's other big sellers.

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The OCC/BPI figures also revealed that MOR/easy listening replaced R&B as the biggest albums genre outside the top two in 2012 with a 7.6% market share (down from 7.9% the previous year). In holiday releases, Michael Bublé's 'Christmas' (Reprise) and Rod Stewart's 'Merry Christmas, Baby' (Verve) were among the genre's most popular releases. Elsewhere, Calvin Harris' '18 Months' (Columbia/Sony) and David Guetta's 'Nothing But The Beat' (Positiva/Virgin) helped dance climb to a 6.3% market share, its best standing for three years. R&B's market share fell to 7.2%, down from 10.1% in 2011 and representing its lowest tally since 1998.

Commenting on the figures, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said in a statement: "British music fans' love affair with pop music continued in 2012, fuelled by strong album releases from home-grown talent. But there is good news for rock fans too, with the genre fighting back to its strongest performance since 2008.

"In the singles market, pop grabbed its biggest share for ten years. The great range of digital music services in the U.K., integrated into many mobile devices, is making it easy for younger music fans to get into buying music."

The U.K.'s top-selling albums by genre in 2012, according to the OCC/BPI:

Pop, Emeli Sandé, 'Our Version Of Events'
Rock, Mumford & Sons, 'Babel'
MOR / Easy Listening, Michael Bublé, 'Christmas'
R&B, Rihanna, 'Unapologetic'
Dance, Calvin Harris, '18 Months'
Classical, Andre Rieu, 'Magic Of The Movies'
Hip Hop, Nicki Minaj, 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded'
Country, Lady Antebellum, 'Need You Now'
Folk, The Civil Wars, 'Barton Hollow'
Jazz, Michael Bublé, 'Sings Totally Blonde'
Reggae, Various Artists, 'Now That's What I Call Reggae'
Blues, Jools Holland, 'The Golden Age Of Swing'

The U.K.'s top-selling singles by genre in 2012, according to the OCC/BPI:

Pop, Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
Rock, Gotye ft Kimbra, "Somebody That I Used To Know"
Dance, David Guetta ft Sia, "Titanium"
R&B, Rihanna, "Diamonds"
Hip Hop, Nicki Minaj, "Starships"
MOR / Easy Listening, Gary Barlow And The Commonwealth Band, "Sing"