Story: Jack Foley
ALBUM sales in the UK rose by 7.6 per cent last year, to a record
high - but while the high turnover has served to allay fears about
the damaging effects of Internet downloading, peoples taste
continues to be questionable.
According to a report by the Official UK Charts Company, almost
121 million artist albums were sold, with Dido topping the list
of the nations favourite, for her second album, Life For
Rent, and Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera coming second
and third, with Justified and Stripped.
There was little improvement in the singles market, where the
Black Eyed Peas laid claim to the biggest seller of 2003, for
their accessible crossover hit, Where is the Love? (a song which
featured Justin Timberlake, and which sold 625,000 copies), and
where efforts from Gareth Gates (Spirit in the Sky) and R Kelly
(Ignition) came second and third.
However, the singles market continued to decline, with a drop
of nearly 30 per cent on overall sales.
True connoisseurs of music seemed to stick to albums, as, sadly,
of the top 200 singles of the year, 26 came from the winners,
runners-up or losers of reality TV talent shows (how depressing!).
On the album front, Dido's Life For Rent sold 2.1 million copies
since its release in September, emulating the success of her 2001
debut, No Angel.
Offering slightly more hope, however, was the second biggest-selling
album artists, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who secured the position
by way of the continued success of 2002s By
the Way and the recently-released Greatest
Talking of greatest hits, Michael Jackson's greatest hits compilation,
Number Ones, along with his back catalogue, helped to make him
the fourth best-selling album artist of 2003.
However, the news was not all good for the industry as while
album sales rose overall by 10 million units, to 159.3 million,
the trend towards cut-price CDs meant that profits have not risen.
Supermarkets and online retailers, such as Amazon, which is being
investigated, have helped push prices down to under £10.
The top five favourite albums of 2003:
1. Dido - Life For Rent
2. Justin Timberlake - Justified
3. Christina Aguilera - Stripped
4. Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This
5. Norah Jones - Come Away