THE BPI, the record labels’ association which promotes British music, reports that, with the phenomenal success of Adele’s 25 leading the charge, British artists last year achieved their highest-recorded share of artist album sales in North America.
In all, they accounted for more than one in six of the artist albums purchased in the US and a remarkable one in five bought in Canada.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: “The drumbeat of British music success in North America just keeps getting louder. British acts such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Mark Ronson have become part of the music mainstream in both the US and Canada – as popular as any home-grown talent, and their sustained success has opened the door to a new generation of UK artists coming through.
“Alongside the outstanding talent of our performers, UK record labels play a key role in this exports success story, investing around half their revenues in signing and developing artists and promoting them to a huge global audience now made more readily accessible by the rapid growth of streaming.”
UK music success in the USA
The BPI’s analysis of Nielsen/Billboard sales data for 2015 shows that 17.6 per cent of artist albums purchased in the US were by British artists.
This figure is up substantially from the 12.2 share per cent reported in 2014 and is the highest on record since the BPI began its annual survey in 2003 – although the BPI estimates the share has never been greater, including the time of the Beatles-led invasion of the Sixties.
With her sales in the US alone exceeding 7.4 million copies in just six weeks following the release of 25 on November 20th, Adele led the way in the year-end chart, but the global superstar was not the only UK success story.
Ed Sheeran’s X and Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour – placed fourth and sixth respectively in the annual Billboard rundown – both made the US top-10 for a second successive year.
Several other British artists achieved No.1 albums on the Billboard chart in 2015, among them Florence + The Machine (How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful), Mumford & Sons (Wilder Mind), and Muse, whose seventh studio album Drones was their first Stateside No.1.
There were top-five weekly chart placings for Mark Ronson (Uptown Special) and Ellie Goulding (Delirium) along with top-ten hits for Marina & The Diamonds, Chvrches, Bullet For My Valentine and Def Leppard.
UK music success in Canada
Sales of artist albums by British acts in Canada represented a remarkable 22.0 per cent share of the market according to the BPI research – up from 15.3 per cent in 2014.
As in the US, Adele (at No.1), Ed Sheeran (No.3) and Sam Smith (No.5) were, again, the highest-placed Brits in the year-end chart, although Mumford & Sons also made the top-ten and One Direction were placed just outside at No.11 with their fifth studio album, Made In The A.M., as British artists populated the top-end of Canadian best-seller list.
British success in North America
Several other UK artists also scored well in both territories. Bring Me The Horizon (That’s The Spirit) claimed a No.1 in Canada and a No.2 in the US, while Coldplay (A Head Full Of Dreams) achieved No.2 placings on the weekly chart in both Canada and the US.
Iron Maiden underlined their status as one of the biggest bands in the world, bagging a No.2 chart placing in Canada and a No.4 in the US for The Book Of Souls, their 16th studio album. Disclosure, David Gilmour and Duran Duran were among other UK talent to chart in both countries’ top-10s with new albums.
Singles and streams
There was also considerable singles-related and streaming success for UK acts in North America. Mark Ronson’s 2014-released Uptown Funk was the most downloaded track of 2015 in the US (with over 5.5m sales), helping to push British share of the US singles market up to 12.9 per cent.
Uptown Funk was also the second most-streamed song of the year, with Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud and Adele’s Hello also featuring in the annual top-ten.
In Canada, Uptown Funk was the most-streamed song of 2015 (with more than 60m plays) and UK artists accounted for 14.4 per cent of track streams there, with 247 titles placed in the year-end top 2,000.
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