From Paloma Faith to Pink Floyd, UK music stars account for one in seven of all albums sold worldwide

Figures show UK music accounted for 12% of album sales in the US, 15% in Canada and around 20% in Australia and Italy

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There’s something about London Grammar which translates perfectly to Wallonia. British artists are rocking all over the world according to new figures which show that UK music stars account for a record one in seven of all albums sold around the globe.

From Paloma Faith in Australia to Pink Floyd in Italy, the success of British performers including Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran saw UK albums and singles generate around 2.75 billion US dollars (£1.8 billion) in sales last year.

Figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) showed UK music accounted for 12% of album sales in the United States, 15% in Canada and around 20% in Australia and Italy.

Its Music Market 2015 Yearbook showed that British pop accounted for 13.7% of global sales and just over one in seven albums sold last year, the highest proportion of UK music sales the BPI has ever recorded.

The trade body, that represents UK record labels, said five of the top 10 global recording artists of the year were British - One Direction, Sheeran, Coldplay, Smith and Pink Floyd - with Scottish-born Australian rockers AC/DC also in the top 10.

However, many other artists also made a significant impact on the world stage in 2014. London Grammar, the trip-hop trio from Nottingham, are big sellers in Australia, where their debut album If You Wait, has gone platinum, peaking at No 2 in the national chart.

The group, fronted by vocalist Hannah Reid, are also a big hit in Belgium, hitting No 3 in the country’s Wallonian and no 7 in the Flanders chart rundowns. London Grammar made inroads in France too, where If You Wait also made the top ten.

A decade after You’re Beautiful topped the charts, singer-songwriter James Blunt remains a favourite with German record-buyers. Blunt’s loyal Hungarian following sent his last album, Moon Landing, to number one.

Rising star Paloma Faith enjoyed a number 4 album in Australia with her 2014 release A Perfect Contradiction and is also a top ten artist in New Zealand.

Arctic Monkeys continue to fly the flag for British alternative rock. Their 2013 AM album has racked up more than 500,000 US sales and peaked at number one in Australia, Belgium (Flanders), Croatia, Slovenia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal.

Australia is now the most anglophile musical nation with British artists claiming one in five album sales in 2014. Ed Sheeran’s X album was the nation’s best-seller with artists breaking through including dance group Rudimental.

Although the UK enjoys a healthy share of global sales the overall albums market continues to shrink. Global sales of permanent downloads through services such as Apple’s iTunes fell by 8% last year. Streaming subscription revenues grew by 39% but could not prevent global music sales slipping by 0.4 per cent in 2014 to $15bn.

Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor, said: “Music is a tremendous exports success story for the UK - all around the world, fans are listening to the records we produce, supporting not only our balance of trade but a positive image for Britain overseas. “

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “The popularity of British music at home and abroad is, appropriately, only going in ‘One Direction’. These record figures are fantastic news and show the enormous demand for UK music all around the world.”

Top of the Pops: Where British bands are big


Ed Sheeran ‘X’, Paloma Faith ‘A Perfect Contradiction


London Grammar ‘If You Wait

Metronomy ‘Love Letters


AC/DC ‘Rock or Bust

Pink Floyd ‘The Endless River


Mika ‘Song Book Vol 1’,

Kasabian ‘48:13


Coldplay ‘Ghost Stories’,

Bastille ‘Bad Blood


One Direction ‘Four

The Vamps ‘Meet the Vamps


Sam Smith ‘In the Lonely Hour

Passenger ‘Whispers