British artists' share of the North American albums market climbed to a record high in 2011, with U.K. acts accounting for approximately 1 in every 8 albums sold, according to new figures released today by U.K. labels trade body the BPI.
According to BPI analysis of Nielsen SoundScan sales data, 30 albums by U.K. acts sold more than 100,000 copies in North America last year, a 25% increase on 2010's figure. Led by the success of Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Florence and the Machine and, of course, Adele, British artists' market share of the U.S. albums market climbed from 9.8% in 2010 to 11.7%. In Canada, it climbed from 13.4% in 2010 to 16.2% last year. BPI believes that the last time U.K. artists enjoyed a similar market share of the U.S. albums market was the early-to-mid-1980s when New Romantic acts such as Culture Club, Duran Duran and the Human League spear-headed the so-called 'Second British Invasion.'
Although the record-breaking success of Adele's sophomore set "21" (XL Recordings/Columbia Records) was a key contributor to U.K. acts gaining an increased market share, she was not the only British female artist to enjoy a banner 2011 in the States. Florence & the Machine, Susan Boyle, the late Amy Winehouse, Sade, Jessie J and soul singer Marsha Ambrosius also all scored high-selling albums in the U.S.
Other big-selling U.K. acts cited by the BPI, include Mumford and Sons, whose studio debut "Sigh No More" (Gentlemen of the Road/Glassnote) was the sixth biggest-selling artist album in the U.S. in 2011, moving 1.4 million units. Coldplay's "Mylo Xyloto" (Capitol) also performed strong, selling 1 million. Radiohead's eighth studio album "The King of Limbs" (TBD Records) and the Beatles' greatest hits compilation "1" (Apple/Capitol) further propped up U.K artist album sales.
Adele's record-breaking success has been well-documented with the six-time Grammy award-winner selling 5.8 million copies of "21" in 2011 - outselling 2010's best-seller, Eminem'sRecovery, by 2.4 million, according to BPI figures - and moving an additional 14 million single tracks. The London-born singer's 2008 debut album "19" was, meanwhile, the 17th highest-selling album in the U.S. last year, moving 857,000 units.
In the singles market, Adele, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, the Beatles, Jessie, Florence and the Machine and Queen all sold over 1 million track downloads, says the BPI, while Tinie Tempah became the first British rapper to sell more than a million single units with "Written in the Stars" featuring Eric Turner. According to the BPI, U.K. artists accounted for 8.4% of radio plays in the U.S. last year.
"British music has resonated strongly in North America since the 1960s, but right now British artists are on the crest of a new wave," said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor in a statement. "Led by Adele, Mumford & Sons and Coldplay, British artists are again storming the U.S. and Canadian charts."
"The strong Stateside performance of British boy bands, The Wanted and One Direction, signals more success to come," Taylor went on to say, adding, "These results prove that the risks U.K. labels take investing in British talent - spending more than 20% of the revenues annually on A&R - together with their digital and marketing expertise, help British artists break internationally and generate important exports that boost the U.K. economy."
The top 10 U.K. artist albums in the U.S., according to the Nielsen SoundScan, is as follows:
1. Adele, "21" - 5.8 mil
2. Mumford & Sons, "Sigh No More" - 1.4 mil
3. Coldplay, "Mylo Xyloto" - 1 mil
4. Adele, "19" - 857,000
5. Florence and the Machine, "Lungs" - 522,000
6. Susan Boyle, "Someone to Watch Over Me" - 478,000
7. Florence and the Machine, "Ceremonials" - 414,000
8. Marsha Ambrosius, "Late Nights and Early Mornings" - 407,000
9. Radiohead, "The King of Limbs" - 288,000
10. The Beatles, "1" - 282,000