What are you listening to?
What are you listening to?
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What are you listening to?
What are you listening to?

Despite many media commentators lamenting the demise of CDs and the traditional record shop, Brits’ passion for music is certainly not slowing down.

With recent figures from BPI – the UK’s official music industry body – showing a rise in digital music sales, where once we rushed to the shops to buy albums and singles from our favourite artists, we’re now increasingly downloading tracks on to our computers to play on mp3 players.

According to the BPI, 177.9 million singles were purchased in 2011, the fourth successive year this sales figure has increased. With the vast majority (99.3 per cent) being digital tracks or bundles, it seems people have ditched CD singles in favour of mp3s.

Digital albums have also been rising in popularity, with sales up 26.6 per cent to 26.6 million.

So, what have Brits been downloading the most? According to the BPI, 21 – the sophomore effort by London songstress Adele – was the biggest selling album of 2011, with Christmas by Michael Buble and Bruno Mars’s Doo-Wops & Hooligans in second and third place respectively.

Guardian readers, meanwhile, voted Letters – the debut by 2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle – as their album of the year, with PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake coming second.

But it’s not just 2011 releases that have been proving popular among pop-pickers. Rihanna’s Loud – which came out in 2010 – and Adele’s debut 19, released in 2008, were among the ten biggest selling records.

In terms of singles, Adele’s Someone Like You was the most purchased song, while tracks from Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5 also charting highly.

Led by Adele, Jessie J, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and others, records by British artists in 2011 achieved both critical and commercial success both at home and around the world,

BPI chairman Tony Wadsworth states.

Of course, we’re in 2012 now and as critics look to predict who’ll be the next big thing, if you’re keen to have the latest sounds on your mp3 player, which acts should you be looking out for?

Soul singer Michael Kiwanuka was recently voted top of the BBC Sound of 2012 list, while US rapper Azealia Banks is also tipped for success by the likes of the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

Whatever’s on your iPod at the minute, it’s likely you’ll be looking to download new tracks soon so you have the freshest playlist around.


  1. I’m concerned with the rise of mp3 format albums (not digital albums) mp3 is an inferior format, we are being sold a poor product at a high price. I would buy digital albums if they were sold considerably cheaper than cds (due to lower manufacturing and distribution costs) and had the option of buying a lossless version with full artwork.


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