Folk music is enjoying a sales boom, with Laura Marling leading a revival of the narrative song.
The genre accounted for 1.6 per cent of album sales in 2011, a 20 per cent rise on the previous year, according to the trade body the British Phonographic Industry.
Marling, who won Best Female at the Brits, was the folk best-seller. Bellowhead, who mix traditional folk with rock elements, helped propel sales, along with the Irish performer Daniel O'Donnell and the American roots singer Gillian Welch. Sales of blues music also increased last year, led by Hugh Laurie's Let Them Talk album and and Seasick Steve's You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks.
Big-selling albums by Adele, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Jessie J helped pop to overtake rock for the first time in seven years. Since 2007, rock has slumped from 37 per cent to 29 per cent of the albums market. Geoff Taylor, the BPI chief executive, said: "Pop has managed to double its share of singles sales in the space of five years and now outsells rock by two to one."