As a result of topselling albums from Lady Gaga — the new queen of pop — and strong releases from artists such as Paolo Nutini and Robbie Williams, pop music claimed its biggest share of album sales since 2003, says BPL, the British record body.
The genre’s 29% share was up from 25.3% in 2008.
Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive, said: “There’s no doubting that 2009 was a vintage year for pop — some fantastic records led to a strong performance by the genre in both albums and singles.”
He added: “British urban talent shone in the R&B sector, virtually doubling their sales last year thanks to Tinchy Stryder, Dizzee Rascal, Chipmunk, N-Dubz and Taio Cruz. This strong performance looks like carrying on into 2010.”
Rock has dominated the UK charts for several years, a trend that continued last year. However, its stranglehold on album sales appeared to be slipping, with rock’s share falling from 35.7% to 31% in 2009, the lowest proportion of sales since 2004.
US rockers Kings of Leon were the only group to sell more than a million copies last year, with their album Only By the Night. Bands such as Snow Patrol, Queen and Kasabian each sold more than half a million copies of their albums.
Rock’s decline was all the more surprising given that it dominated new release. Rock provided 40.2% of all new releases, compared with 13.7% for pop, 10.1% for dance and 8.6% for urban.
Tween favourites JLS and Beyonce both featured in the year-end top 10, but R&B accounted for just 9.6% of album sales, down from 10.5% in 2008.