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Adele Leads Third

British Music Invasion

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Adele. Image by Christopher Macsurak and used under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
British Entertainer Has Best Selling Album For Second Year In A Row As Fellow European Sensations Mumford & Sons, One Direction Have Big Impacts In U.S.


By Brad Hamilton
Modern Times Magazine

Jan. 7, 2012 — The Nielsen and Billboard numbers have come in and British pop sensation Adele is the first artist since such data has been collected to have the top selling album two years in a row.

And it is the same album — 21.

Some of that might have something to do with a bit of a bounce that she must have garnered from her singing the theme song for last year’s James Bond film, Skyfall. Regardless, it might also be indicative of a new wave of British imports having successes unseen since the British Invasion of the 1980s.

Boy band One Direction and folk rockers Mumford & Sons were No. 3 and 4 respectively in album sales. One Direction gained their popularity from the UK’s X Factor and were the first UK act to have an album debut at No. 1 on the U.S. charts since the Spice Girls in 1997. That album, Up All Night sold more than 1.6 million copies in 2012. They also had the No. 5 album of the year, with combined album sales of more than 3 million.

Dig into all of the data from the report here.

Mumford & Sons are a more typical success story. A band of multi-instrumentalists, they released their debut album in 2010 in the U.S., but it was their 2012 release, Babel, that brought them big time success in 2012. They sold more than 1.4 million copies since the album was released in September.

Both One Direction and Mumford & Sons outperformed pot-smoker Justin Bieber and country sweetheart Carrie Underwood. The complete top ten in album sales: 21, Adele, 4,414,000; Red, Taylor Swift, 3,107,000; Up All Night, One Direction, 1,616,000; Babel, Mumford & Sons, 1,463,000; Take Me Home, One Direction, 1,340,000; Believe, Justin Bieber, 1,324,000; Blown Away, Carrie Underwood, 1,203,000; Tailgates & Tanlines, Luke Bryan, 1,105,000, Tuskegee, Lionel Richie, 1,071,000; Night Train, Jason Aldean, 1,024,000.

Dig into all of the data from the report here.

“The big artist stories of the year are Adele and Taylor Swift,” said David Bakula, SVP Client Development, Nielsen. “Adele’s album, 21, is the first album ever to be the top seller of the year for two consecutive years, and Taylor Swift’s Red has sold more than 3.1 million copies in only 10 weeks, debuting with the highest weekly sales of any title since 2002.”

While Adele, Taylor Swift, One Direction and Mumford & Sons are the biggest successes, the industry as a whole is rather flat. Physical album sales are down by 12 percent. When combined with digital sales rising by 5 percent, total album sales are down by 4.4 percent.

The rise in digital singles sales, however, has seen overall sales increase by 3.1 percent.

“Overall music purchases surpassed 1.65 billion units in 2012, up 3.1 percent vs. the previous record high set in 2011, driven by digital music sales, which continue be a key growth element within the market,” said Bakula. “Digital album sales are up 14.1 percent and digital track sales are up 5.1 percent, but despite being down 12.8 percent, physical is still the dominant album format.”

The one bright spot in physical album sales continues to be vinyl. There was a 17 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 — from 3.9 million to 4.6 million units.

Dig into all of the data from the report here.

Brad Hamilton is a freelance writer from Tempe, Ariz.
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