UK record companies offered music fans a record 31,291 new album releases across over 16 official genres in 2005, according to figures published today by trade association the BPI.
This is more than double the number of albums released ten years' previously - 15,393 albums were released in 1996 - with consumer choice growing across 16 different genres.
Online retailers are responsible for an increasing share of the albums market and can stock a huge range of titles. Combined with the emergence of digital music retailers, British record labels are increasingly able to reissue back-catalogue and increase consumer choice. But it was rock that emerged as the UK's favourite as its share of the albums market reached 36.2% - its best ever showing and the older demographic of downloaders has also helped rock gain a best-ever 23.5% market share of the singles market.
The growing popularity of home-grown British bands has seen the genre become firmly ensconced as the nations' favourite. Seven out of the Top 10 rock albums and nine out of the Top 10 rock singles were by UK artists. British artists claimed 49.4% of last year's album sales; the highest share since 1998.
BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said, "Few businesses offer so much choice to the consumer as the record industry does to the music fan.
"Record companies support a hugely diverse range of genres. But ultimately it's the music fan who decides what's successful. Last year they decided by some margin that 2005 was predominantly a year of home-grown British rock bands."
The figures, compiled from Official UK Chart Company data, show that Coldplay's third album 'X&Y' and Kaiser Chiefs 'Employment' helped rock claim its largest ever share of the albums market in 2005.
Rock albums now account for 36.2% of the albums market, up by 6.4% on 2004 and 13.8% on 1999.
New British artists have dominated the UK charts over the last couple of years and 2005 was no different. But in addition to successful debut albums from Kaiser Chiefs and KT Tunstall - established British artists such as Coldplay, Gorillaz and Oasis returned with hit albums to help contemporary rock increase its share of the singles and albums market.
Although pop remains the dominant genre in the singles market, claiming a 33.9% share, the rise in digital sales have helped rock increase its share by 8.4% on 2004 and a massive 36.1% on 1999.
The figures also show that middle of the road (MOR) and dance both gained an increasing share of the albums market in 2005. While the former was boosted by the continued success of Il Divo and Katie Melua, while dance acts such as Prodigy, Basement Jaxx and Faithless all released successful Best-Of albums.
Pop accounts for one in four albums sold in the UK, and it was a pop act, James Blunt, who was the best selling artist overall in 2005 and eighteen months after its release his debut 'Back to Bedlam' is still in the album chart.
Robbie Williams' 'Intensive Care' and Kelly Clarkson's debut 'Breakaway' were also amongst the year's best sellers, with mainstream pop (22.2%) still marginally outselling contemporary rock (21.7%).
The increasing popularity of rock acts amongst young consumers, combined with increasing competition for young consumers' disposable income and sales lost through illegal file sharing have also affected the make up of the albums market.
Reality shows such as Pop Idol boosted teen pop sales in the early 2000s, but since its 1990s heyday the genre's popularity has declined from representing 5.3% of sales in 2001 to 2.5% last year.
Top 10 Rock Albums, 2005
1 X&Y Coldplay
2 Employment - Kaiser Chiefs
3 Demon Days - Gorillaz
4 Eye To The Telescope - KT Tunstall
5 Hot Fuss - Killers
6 Don't Believe The Truth - Oasis
7 American Idiot - Green Day
8 Hopes And Fears - Keane
9 Life In Slow Motion - David Gray
10 In Your Honour - Foo Fighters
Top 10 Rock Singles, 2005
1 Feel Good Inc - Gorillaz
2 I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor - Arctic Monkeys
3 Dare - Gorillaz
4 Lyla - Oasis
5 The Importance Of Being Idle - Oasis
6 Dakota - Stereophonics
7 Speed Of Sound - Coldplay
8 Somewhere Else - Razorlight
9 Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
10 Fix You - Coldplay
Source: BPI/Official UK Charts Company
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