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CD is 30 years old – ABBA have best selling disc in UK ever

By | Published on Monday 1 October 2012


The good old compact disc is officially 30 years old today, and to mark the occasion record label trade body the BPI and the Official Charts Company have released some stats. Because we all love stats. Yes even the CD-hating music-stealing file-sharing kids love a good statistic.

So here goes. The biggest selling CD of all time in the UK is ABBA’s hits collection ‘Gold’, which has sold four million units to date. Though, while ‘Gold’ was released in the hey day of the compact disc in 1992, the second biggest selling CD is very much a hit of the digital era, it being Adele’s ’21’, which has so far sold 3.5 million copies on CD. Oasis’s ‘What’s The Story Morning Glory’ is the third biggest selling disc, having sold 3.4 million units.

As previously reported, late last year there were rumours on the good old internet that the record industry was about to ditch the CD format in favour of digital platforms. Of course those rumours were bollocks. While the compact disc is obviously destined, ultimately, to become a niche premium product, and is already pretty much redundant in the singles market, the format is still performing well in the mainstream album domain, especially in the UK.

And elsewhere in today’s CD stats, the BPI reveals that while digital does now account for the majority of rock, urban and dance music sales (though, in terms of albums, only recently), 77.7% of classical album sales are still on CD.

BPI boss Geoff Taylor told CMU: “The CD represented a great leap forward in sound technology, becoming one of the most successful consumer products in history as music fans embraced its sound quality, durability, instant track access and ease of use. Even 30 years after its launch, it still remains the leading album format in the British music market”.

“There are many music fans in the UK who want to own music and value a physical product they can collect. The CD is a digital product that offers premium sound quality, artwork and lyrics – plus a permanent backup copy, all at a great price. We are working with retailers to further enhance the format with new features for consumers. There’s no doubt that the CD remains an outstanding product for the digital age”.