Take That Scores Huge U.K. Sales

Robbie Williams and the members of TAKE THAT pose backstage at the Q Awards after a recent announcement that the former boy band will reunite for the first time in 15 years next summer.

Take That's new album "Progress" (Polydor) moved more than 235,000 copies on its first day on sale (Nov. 15) in the U.K., according to the Official Charts Company.

The OCC said it was the biggest day one sale since Oasis' "Be Here Now" moved 424,000 in 1997.

Take That has benefited from huge publicity for this album, the first to feature Robbie Williams since 1995's "Nobody Else." Coverage includes a documentary on ITV1 and an appearance - their first performance together since the mid-'90s - on the Nov. 14 edition of "The X Factor." That got a peak audience of 17.7 million - the second highest for the show, the highest being last year's final - and an average of 14.5 million.

Take That Announces 20-Date Reunion Tour

The band continued for a short while as a four-piece until early 1996 and then returned with a new album, "Beautiful World," in 2006. "Progress" is the third album from the band since it returned, first as a four-piece and now back to the original five-piece line-up.

Williams has enjoyed a solo career since he left the group but there has long been speculation about when he would re-join. The strong performance of his 2009 EMI album "Reality Killed the Video Star" made a return more likely. (The experimental "Rudebox" album in 2006 was not a strong seller and Williams would not have wanted to appear to be re-joining his old band because of falling sales.)

U.K. entertainment retailer HMV is predicting "Progress" will sell more than 500,000 and could even top Oasis, although "Be Here Now" was released on a Thursday which makes its week one sale even more impressive.

Universal has again moved to protect sales by not making the album available for free streaming via Spotify and We7's ad-funded services in the U.K. The album is available via Spotify's premium service. Eminem's "Recovery" - another huge U.K. seller this year - was also kept off free streaming services.

The arrival of the Beatles on iTunes today is perhaps an unwelcome distraction to the Take That campaign, but all the signs are that the album will likely be the biggest seller of the year in the U.K. "Progress" has also been well received by critics. It's certainly a long way from their boy band origins, which is just as well as two of the group are in their forties.


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