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2011 was a good year for Brit acts in the US, BPI confirms

By | Published on Monday 19 March 2012


As two UK acts battle it out for the top spot in the Billboard albums chart this week – and if One Direction win they’ll be the first British pop group to ever debut at the top of the countdown – the BPI has published stats showing that last year was a very good year indeed for British music in North America.

In fact, UK artists collectively commanded their biggest share of the North American albums market so far this century in 2011, commanding 11.7% of the US market, and a 16.2% market share in Canada.

The Brit ladies led the way, with Florence And The Machine, Sade, Susan Boyle, Jessie J, Marsha Ambrosius, Amy Winehouse and, of course, Adele all selling shitloads of records. Adele had the biggest selling album of the year in both the US and Canada, outselling the previous year’s American best seller, Eminem’s ‘Recovery’, by 2.4 million units. But some men contributed to the success too – Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz, and now-a-music-star-too Hugh Laurie in particular.

Newcomers noted by the BPI for starting to make waves in the American market last year include Two Door Cinema Club and The Joy Formidable, while catalogue from some classic artists also helped with the overall impressive sales stats, including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Led Zeppelin.

Commenting on all these lovely achievements, BPI boss Geoff Taylor told CMU: “British music has resonated strongly in North America since the 1960s, but right now British artists are on the crest of a new wave. Led by Adele, Mumford & Sons and Coldplay, British artists are again storming the US and Canadian charts. In 2011 they took taken their highest share this century of the North American albums market”.

He continued: “The strong Stateside performance of British boybands, The Wanted and One Direction, signals more success to come. These results prove that the risks UK labels take investing in British talent – spending more than 20% of the revenues annually on A&R – together with their digital and marketing expertise, help British artists break internationally and generate important exports that boost the UK economy”.