Album sales in the U.K. dropped 2.7% to 159 million units in 2005, according to the British Phonographic Industry.
Trade org put a positive spin on the year’s figures by noting sales of single-artist albums rose 1.4% from 2004 to 126.2 million units. Compilations were down 15.7% during 2005.
Artist album sales have been growing for six consecutive years, starting from 87.7 million in 1999.
“The rise of compilations and the ‘Pop Idol’ phenomenon led some to suggest the days of the great artist album were numbered,” said BPI chairman Peter Jamieson. “On the contrary, strong investment in new talent means album sales are flourishing.”
British acts took seven of the top 10 sales slots in 2005, including the top five positions. James Blunt’s “Back to Bedlam” topped Coldplay’s “X&Y” as the year’s top seller.
In digital downloads, more than 26.4 million tracks were purchased in 2005, an increase of 357%.