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Official Charts analysis: UK album sales continue to drop

Official Charts analysis: UK album sales continue to drop

Bad as that sounds, it was even worse at the top of the chart, where it's a personal triumph for Emeli Sande as her Our Version Of Events jumps 3-1 to start its third run at number one but an industry disaster, as it does so on sales of just 13,430 - the lowest since Ace Of Base's Happy Nation sprinted 7-1 on sales of 12,042 in sales week ending 25 June 1994 (chart dated 2 July 1994), some 935 weeks ago.

Sande's album's return to number one comes despite latest single, My Kind Of Love slipping 19-21 (14,039 sales), and even though it isn't number one in her native Scotland. It has been number one north of the border four times but ranks only fifth there this week, as another Scot, Paul Buchanan, debuts at number one.

56 year old Buchanan, hitherto known for his work with the esteemed duo Blue Nile, tops the Scots list with his debut solo album, Mid Air, which ranked as high as number three in the UK as a whole on early sales flashes but finally debuts at number 14 (7,054 sales).

While Buchanan had the highest new entry in Scotland, the top newcomer in the UK as a whole is Driving Towards The Daylight, the latest album by prolific blues/rock guitarist/singer Joe Bonamassa. Selling 13,345 copies - just 85 fewer than Emeli Sande's album - Driving Towards The Daylight debuts at number two. It is Bonamassa's first Top 10 album. His previous chart peak came in March of last year, when he debuted and peaked at number 12 with Dust Bowl, which - again demonstrating how awful current sales are - did so on higher sales of 16,004. It was the first of three 2011 albums by Bonamassa, who also reached number 22 with Don't Explain, an album of covers, on which he was accompanied by Beth Hart, and number 23 as a member of Black Country Communion, with the album 2.

John Mayer also lands his first Top 10 album, debuting at number four with Born And Raised. Its opening week's sales of 12,651 are the best of his career but only just - beating his previous highest charting set, Battle Studies, which debuted and peaked at number 35 in 2009, on sales of 11,781 copies. Fun also land their first Top 10 album, with Some Nights (see singles analysis for more).

The week's Top 10 debuts are completed by two acts who have previously topped the chart. 71 year old Tom Jones - a chart-topper in 1968 with Delilah, in 1975 with 20 Greatest Hits and in 1999 with Reload - debuts at number nine with Spirit In The Room. Jones is currently enjoying major TV success as a coach on BBC1's The Voice UK, but Spirit In The Room's chart placing, and first week sales of 9,886 both mark a big downturn since his last studio album Praise & Blame debuted at number two (31,209 sales) in 2010. The Enemy's third album, Streets In The Sky, debuts at number nine (9,854 sales). Their 2007 debut, We'll Live And Die In These Towns, opened at number one (39,191 sales), while 2009 follow-up, Music For The People, entered at number two (35,363 sales).

In what is actually a VERY busy week for new releases, despite low sales, there are Top 75 debuts for the eponymous second album by Australian band The Temper Trap (number 17, 5,894 sales); Choice Of Weapon by veteran British rock band The Cult (number 20, 5,779 sales); Words And Music by Saint Etienne (number 26, 4,538 sales); Apocalyptic Love, the second solo album by UK-born, US-raised Guns N' Roses legend Slash (number 27, 4,527 sales); Pryda, a hybrid compilation/new release by Swedish dance musician Eric Prydz (number 40, 3,381 sales); Fairytales, the introductory album by TV actress (Emmerdale, Lip Service) Heather Peace (number 43, 3,160 sales); Here Come The Bombs, the first solo album by Supergrass star Gaz Coombes (number 54, 2,568 sales) who lives two doors away from Heather Peace in the same street in Brighton; Tree Bursts In Snow, the second album by Glasgow band Admiral Fallow (number 59, 2,265 sales), which also opens at number four in Scotland; The Light The Dead See, the first chart album and fourth album overall by Soulsavers (number 69, 18,39 sales), with guest vocals from Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan; and the soundtrack album of his US series The Sound Of Smash (number 73, 1,784 sales).

Robin Gibb's death precipitated a big increase in sales of Bee Gees albums, with Number Ones vaulting 34-5, with sales up 206.70% week-on-week at 12,127, and The Ultimate re-entering at number 35, with sales rocketing 1521.95% to 3,744. It is the highest position for Number Ones, which reached number seven in 2004 as a Polydor (Universal) release, but transferred to Reprise (Warner Music) in 2009. The Ultimate debuted and peaked at number 19 in 2009.

41 years to the week after replacing The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers at number one, Ram is the latest Paul McCartney album to get the deluxe Archive Collection treatment from Hearmusic, and responds by re-entering the chart at number 41 (3,327 sales).

Number one for the last two weeks, Keane's Strangeland slides to number six (11,633 sales).

Three albums which debuted in the Top 10 last week make big falls: Tenacious D's Rize Of The Fenix dives 2-23 (5,371 sales); Ren Harvieu's Through The Night slumps 5-52 (2,645 sales), and Not Your Kind Of People by Garbage flatlines 10-63 (2,108 sales)

SINGLES: With an unusual chart trajectory of 7-3-3-3-5-2-1, We Are Young finally ascends to pole position for Fun feat. Janelle Monae. It got there the hard way - it trailed The Wanted's Chasing The Sun by more than 10,000 sales in Tuesday's midweek sales flashes but eventually ran out clear winner on sales of 72,977, 3,647 more than its rival. We Are Young initially surfaced in the UK on 20 September last year but didn't reach iTunes until April, when it immediately charted. The single has thus far sold 430,903 copies. A version by Glee Cast (number 56 last December) has sold 26,057 copies, while soundalike covers by Rainbow Mix (number 56 in March), We Are Young Singers (number 78 in March) and Tonight We Are Young (number 189 in April) have sold 11,889, 6,948 and 5,644 copies respectively. A further 31 uncharted covers of the song have shared 14,289 sales between them. We Are Young previously topped the chart in The USA, Canada, Australia, Austria and Ireland, and is the first single from Fun's second album Some Nights, which debuts at number seven this week (11,023 sales). It is the only track on the album to feature Monae who has a separate career of her own to pursue. Fun's 2010 debut album, Aim And Ignite, had sold fewer than 1,000 copies between its 2010 release and We Are Young's rise to prominence. It has since increased its cumulative sales to 4,026.

The Wanted's eighth hit in less than two years, Chasing The Sun couldn't deliver the band's third number one but it has given them their third number two. Their biggest selling single to date, Glad You Came has sold 540,126 copies since its release last July out of an overall Wanted singles sales tally of 2,153,392.

Paloma Faith scores her highest charting single to date, with Picking Up The Pieces debuting at number seven (32,607 sales) to beat the number 15 peak of her previous top tune, New York . Picking Up The Pieces is the introductory single from her new album, Fall To Grace, which was released today (28th).

14 months after they paired up to top the chart with On The Floor, Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull return to the chart with Dance Again. Selling 28,371 copies last week to debut at number 11, the track is one place shy of securing Pitbull his ninth Top 10 hit, Lopez her 18th. On The Floor was by far the biggest hit of Lopez's career, with sales to date of 822,056 - fractionally more than her next three biggest hits put together. Pitbull has another new single on the chart this week: Back In Time (from the new Men In Black film), which debuts at number 23 (13,284 sales).

Gavin DeGraw's one and only Top 75 entry hitherto has been his 2005 debut I Don't Want To Be, which reached number 38. He finally lands his second hit this week with Soldier, from fourth album Sweeter, debuting at number 59 (4,409 sales) - but it has its thunder stolen by I Don't Want To Be which chooses this precise moment to come roaring back at number 27 (11,648 sales). Soldier is getting a modicum of exposure as a new single but I Don't Want To Be's return seems to be down to the popular American TV drama One Tree Hill, whose 187th and final episode was screened on E4 last Monday (21st), with DeGraw making an appearance to sing I Don't Want To Be. Despite its previous low peak, I Don't Want To Be has been a steady seller, with sales of 110,141 prior to last week.

Quick singles facts: Call Me Maybe is in the top three for the eighth straight week for Carly Rae Jepsen (3-3, 46,642 sales)...After two weeks at number one, Rita Ora's R.I.P. (feat. Tinie Tempah) dips to number four (43,116 sales)...Where Have You Been holds at number six for Rihanna, but with sales up 6.90% at 38,815...Labrinth's Express Yourself (17-16, 17,209 sales), Remedy by Professor Green feat. Ruth Anne (27-18, 16,049 sales), Princess Of China by Coldplay & Rihanna (30-20, 14,152 sales) and Bangarang by Skrillex feat. Sirah (32-24, 13,019 sales) continue to climb the Top 40 and increase sales...Timebomb debuts at number 31 for Kylie Minogue (10,044 sales), having been released only on Friday (25th)...French DJ Martin Solveig's fourth Top 40 hit, The Night Out debuts at number 36 (8,838 sales)...Dream Team's soundalike cover of upcoming Maroon 5/Wiz Kalifa single Payphone debut6s at number 49 (5,786 sales)...Engelbert Humperdinck's Eurovision flop Love Will Set You Free (it finished 25th out of 26 on Saturday) rebounds 76-60 (4,398 sales) to achieve a new peak.

Overall singles sales are down 1.84% week-on-week at 3,092,230 - their lowest level for 10 weeks, and their second lowest level thus far in 2012. They are 6.45% below same week 2011 sales of 3,305,282.

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