Freddie Matthews writes from London: Naturally what you think is the best album of 2012 will be very different from what I think it was and so on. What cannot be argued with however are official sales statistics from The Official Charts Company, here in the UK.
It was a shame that in 2012, for whatever reasons, album sales were down just over 25 per cent on 2011’s figures. I honestly think that the decline in sales is due to the way people consume their music in this day and age. Companies like Spotify, for example, stop the user ever having to purchase an album or single ever again. Instead you buy a contract to access as much or as little streamed music from the Internet to multiple devices. Subsequently as these companies increase the number of their subscribers, physical sales to the end user are in decline. That makes sense but surely it shouldn’t decrease the artists’ profit. It should just be seen elsewhere but I suppose that’s an issue for another day.
Decreased sales or not, in 2012 UK album sales stood at just over half a million short of 70 million which still seems like an awful lot.
Of course to qualify as a top seller in 2012 doesn’t mean that the album had physically to be released in the same year, as we experienced from 3 huge selling artists; Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Adele. Coldplay released Mylo Xyloto, their fifth album in October of 2012, a former No.1 album on both sides of the Atlantic. Mylo Xyloto has already racked in over 8 million sales worldwide. Ed Sheeran released his debut album ‘+’ in September 2011 with hits like The A Team, Drunk and Lego House. ‘+’ remained on the album chart again for the 52 weeks of 2012. However the unfortunate fact about Ed Sheeran’s ‘+’ album is that for every copy bought 7 more were downloaded or obtained illegally. Think about how successful ‘+’ would have been if that hadn’t been the case. Adele released her 2nd album ‘21’ in January 2011 and it went on to become the highest selling album of 2011 and as of October 2012 ‘21’ has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Her sales in 2012 weren’t quite enough to achieve two years in succession as the top selling album but she had a good go eventually finishing in 2nd place. I’d also like to point out that these three long stayers are also all British which probably helped within the UK marketplace.
The rest of 2012’s Top Selling Albums were made up with Rihanna with her 7th studio album in as many years. It just squeezed into the Top 10 at No.10 but then her Unapologetic album had only been in the chart for 6 weeks. Expect to see it in 2013’s chart also.
Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto was at No.9, with Michael Bublé’s Christmas, which was a mere remake of his 2011 Christmas album with a few extra bolt on songs somehow managed a No.8. However we’re all a little more generous with our buying at Christmas time. Isn’t it funny how his albums are only released during the festive period these days, more like sad.
The 7th top selling album of 2012 was the cheeky chap, not Robbie Williams but Britain’s Olly Murs with Right Place Right Time. Again, this was an album released later in 2012 but that was due to his X-Factor presenter presence for 14 consecutive weeks on our TV screens of a weekend. Just 5 weeks of release saw Murs’ album sales soar into Britain’s 7th bestselling album of 2012.
Bestseller number 6 comes from another British band, Mumford & Sons, with their 2nd album Babel. Debuting at No.1 in the UK and USA Babel was an overnight success and has since been nominated for British Album Of The Year at the BRIT Awards 2013 which takes place on 20 February.
Now No.5 and the British Boy-Band phenomena that is One Direction with their album Take Me Home. One D (the cool way to say their name) only entered the music scene after the X-Factor 2010 and subsequently their first album Up All Night wasn’t released until 2011. In the last 18 months alone One D have sold over 15 million records worldwide and amassed a fortune worth over $50 million!
The fourth largest selling album of 2012 fell to Lana Del Rey and her album that spent 48 weeks in the Official Album Chart called Born To Die. Released in January 2012 and just a few weeks after its release she won a BRIT Award for International Breakthrough Act. Born To Die yielded the hugely successful singles: Video Games; Born To Die; Blue Jeans and National Anthem.
At 3, we’ve already mentioned Ed Sheeran’s ‘+’, as we have Adele at No.2 with her second album 21.
Who then sold the most albums in Britain during 2012? Quite incredibly with her debut solo album selling over 1 million copies, Emeli Sande was the Critics’ Choice winner at the BRIT Awards 2012, Our Version Of Events was her debut album. Sande was virtually everywhere during 2012. She sang at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympics 2012 and it almost seemed that every credible artist featured her as a supporting artist also. She had No.1 singles with Professor Green on the Read All About it and another UK No.1, at the end of the year, with Labrinth’s Beneath Your Beautiful (not a typo but how it’s actually spelt for some bizarre reason). Ironically her real name is Adele Emeli Sande but because singer Adele was an already established artist Sande decided to forgo her Christian name when pursuing her future singing career. Our Version Of Events spent 46 weeks of 2012 in the album chart and was the No.1 seller of the year 2012.
Who’ll be in that Top 10 for 2013? Expect Rihanna to be up there and I also wouldn’t be surprised if Adele, One Direction and Coldplay are still close by also.