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Digital sales continue to grow, but album sales down overall

By | Published on Tuesday 3 July 2012


UK single and digital album sales were up in the second quarter of 2012 according to BPI/Official Charts Company data published yesterday, though overall album sales were down.

Single sales, which, of course, are now almost exclusively digital (indeed 100% of top ten single sales this year have been digital), were up 8.3% year-on-year for quarter two, while sales overall this year are 6.3% up on the same point in 2011.

In the albums domain, sales of digital albums were also up, 15% on Q2 last year, and 17.3% for the year to date. However, physical album sales continue to slump, so that overall LP sales are 12.7% down on the same quarter last year, and 13.8% for the year.

That said, keeping things positive, BPI boss Geoff Taylor noted that these figures don’t account for the increased growth in subscription-based revenues enjoyed by labels, while adding that some big new releases are still to come this year, which may result in an uplift in quarters three and four.

Says Geoffrey: “We’ve had another solid quarter of digital growth in sales volumes – both in albums and on singles, where the top ten were exclusively sold as digital downloads. Album unit sales are down quite significantly year-on-year, but it’s important to remember that these unit sales figures do not take into account the growing importance of music streaming and subscription services”.

He continued: “The second half of 2012 is looking very promising for music fans, with big releases anticipated from The Killers, Plan B, Joss Stone, Mumford & Sons, Robbie Williams, Muse, David Guetta, Van Morrison, Pet Shop Boys, Dido, One Direction and The Vaccines”.

As previously reported, in the first quarter of 2011 overall digital revenues outperformed overall physical product income for the first time in the UK. In quarter two digital accounted for the vast majority of single sales and 34.7% of album sales. How that worked out overall, of course, we will not know until BPI/OCC reveal full revenue stats including subscription service revenue and such like, though many expect physical revenues will slightly outperform digital again this time.

If you’re interested, Adele, Emeli Sandé and Lana Del Rey have sold the most albums so far this year, while the biggest selling singles of 2012 have been ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ by Gotye, ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepsen and ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta and Sia.