One out of every six albums sold globally by British musicians


The huge international success of British musicians including Adele, Sam Smith and One Direction means one in six albums sold worldwide are by UK artists, new figures show.

Adele's latest album 25 broke first week sales records in the UK and US and helped acts from the UK secure a 17.1% share of international album sales.

Adele (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It remains the world's best-selling album with 17.4 million copies sold in 2015, 2.5 million bought in Britain. Her success marks the eighth time in the last 11 years the global best-seller has come from the UK.

On home turf, British artists scored an 18-year-high, making up 55% of domestic album sales and seven of the top 10 annual best-sellers in the Official Charts.

Sam Smith
Sam Smith (Matt Crossick/PA)

Globally they account for half of the top 10 biggest sellers, according to the British Phonographic Industry's (BPI) music market 2016 yearbook.

However, the figures came amid warnings that artists are not financially benefiting from the growing demand for their work.

Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Niall Horan of One Direction arrive on the red carpet for the BBC Music Awards at the Genting Arena, Birmingham
One Direction (Joe Giddens/PA)

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and the Brit Awards, warned that the popularity of ad-supported platforms such as YouTube means a surge in popularity does not translate into increased revenues for the musician.

He said: "It is hugely encouraging that demand for British music is so strong at home and abroad thanks to our brilliant artists and the continual innovation and investment of our record labels.

File photo of Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran (Yui Mok/PA)

"Yet the fact that sales revenues dipped in a record year for British music shows clearly that something is fundamentally broken in the music market, so that artists and the labels that invest in them no longer benefit fairly from growing demand.

"Instead, dominant tech platforms like YouTube are able to abuse liability protections as royalty havens, dictating terms so they can grab the value from music for themselves, at the expense of artists.

"The long-term consequences of this will be serious, reducing investment in new music, making it difficult for most artists to earn a living, and undermining the growth of more innovative services like Spotify and Apple Music that pay more fairly for the music they use."