More than 62M albums sold at home in 2005.

Homegrown artists accounted for almost half of all albums sold in the United Kingdom last year, new figures published today (Feb. 14) reveal.

British acts claimed a record 62.4 million album sales in 2005, according to the data collated by the Official U.K. Charts Company and reported by the British Phonographic Industry. The OCC, a joint-venture of the BPI and retail trade body the British Assn. of Record Dealers, gathers its data from more than 4,000 points-of-sale across the United Kingdom.

Of all albums sold in the British market, local recordings generated 49.4%, up seven percentage points from the previous year for the best result since 1998, the data indicates.

Six of the top 10-selling albums last year were recorded by U.K. acts compared with just three for calendar year 2004. As previously reported by the OCC, James Blunt's "Back To Bedlam" was last year's best-selling album with 2.368 million units. The album was yesterday honored with four-times IFPI Platinum Europe status, for pan-European shipments in excess of four million copies.

Moreover, the six best-selling British albums each sold more than one million units and 90 British albums shifted more than 100,000 copies, the report adds.

"We are privileged to be living through an exciting time for U.K. music," comments BPI chairman Peter Jamieson in a statement. "From Kaiser Chiefs to KT Tunstall, from Gorillaz to James Blunt, British music is succeeding across the board and U.K. music fans are responding in their droves."

The report on Britain's thriving market for local repertoire was published in the run-up to the industry's flagship annual gala the Brit Awards, which takes place Wednesday night (Feb. 15) in London.