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Source: Official Charts Company THE BEATLES’ 21st century UK album sales by year TH 2.5m 2.0m 1.5m 1.0m 0.5m 0.0m 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 20 BIGGEST-SELLING ALBUM ACTS IN UK SINCE 2000 ROBBIE WILLIAMS 14.1m


c Week reveals how most enduring act


this side of the millennium is the 2000 compilation 1, which was that year’s top overall album with nearly 1.9 million sales, and it is on course to top the cumulative 3 million mark in the next week or so. It represents 36.4% of the group’s UK album sales in this period and has sold three-and-half times as many copies as the next most popular title, the 2006 set Love, which was released to accompany The Beatles’ Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas show and has to date shifted around 835,000 copies. Among all albums, 1 is the century’s fifth top seller in the UK. The release of 1 in the first year of the new


century meant the group’s UK sales received a significant boost right at the start of the new millennium with 2.3 million Beatles albums sold in 2000 alone. This dropped to about 740,000 the following year and under 400,000 in 2002, but approached 1 million in 2006 thanks to Love and increased by 205% year-on-year in 2009 to more than 700,000 units as the remastered versions of their original studio albums rolled out.


0 3 6 WESTLIFE 11.7m


COLDPLAY 11.0m TAKE THAT 10.7m


EMINEM 8.8m THE BEATLES 8.2m


MICHAEL JACKSON 8.1m MICHAEL BUBLÉ 7.9m


OASIS 7.5m MADONNA 7.5m


9 12 15


Source: Official Charts Company/Music Week research


albums are the least popular with a modern buyer with the likes of Please Please Me, With The Beatles and Beatles For Sale attracting far fewer sales than the later albums. Although less popular in this sector than


Source: Official Charts Company The biggest retail winner of the remasters


overhaul has been 1967’s Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which has sold around 140,000 additional copies since the new version was released, a few thousand more unit sales than their 1969 set


Above: the biggest-selling albums by The Beatles in the UK since 2000


compared to albums, The Beatles have generated healthy one-track digital sales since their catalogue finally went on iTunes in November 2010. In the UK this has added up to 1.2 million unit sales, although no title has individually been a huge seller, perhaps because demand is spread across many tracks rather than just a handful or so as is typically the case with vintage acts. Thirty-nine of their recordings have sold more than 10,000 copies digitally in the market with both Hey Jude and Let It Be having topped 80,000 download sales and Here Comes The Sun 70,000. The latter track has performed particularly


well in 2012, achieving 45% of its cumulative digital total thanks to boosts such as the song being covered by Gary Barlow in a Marks & Spencer TV ad and on his Sing album with the Commonwealth Band and its inclusion in the Olympics closing ceremony.


THE BEATLES ARE NOT ONLY more than a commercial match for most contemporary artists but trounce the album sales of other music legends. With 8.2 milion albums sold in the UK


THE FAB FOUR VS THE REST HOW THE BEATLES RANK AGAINST OTHER LEGENDS IN THE 21ST CENTURY THE BEATLES VS OTHER MUSICAL LEGENDS


THE BEATLES VS OTHER MUSICAL LEGE AT THE BEATLES 8.2m


ROD STEWART 7.3m ELVIS PRESLEY 7.2m


U2 7.0m


since 2000, the group’s tally easily beats those of the likes of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Abba and The Who, while outscores their main rival for all-time global album sales, Elvis Presley. The King this century has sold 7.2 million


albums to date, according to the Official Charts Company, with his top seller the RCA release ELV1s – 30 Number 1 Hits, which was a response to The Beatles’ 1 and has shifted 1.7 million copies in the UK. Michael Jackson (8.1 million) runs The


Beatles much closer than Presley and has every chance of overtaking them in the near future, especially given the release of new packages such as Sony’s Bad 25, which debuted in the weekly Top 10 last Sunday.


QUEEN 5


PINK FLOYD ABBA 4.3m


ELTON JOHN LT 0 2m


AC/DC 3.1m 4m


AC/DC 6m 8m 10m


Above: The graph compares The Beatles’ 21st-century UK album sales with those of selected legendary artists. Source: Official Charts Company


Rod Stewart (7.3 million) is just ahead of


Presley in the century league table with seven of his Top 10 sellers being new albums released by Sony’s J Records and the remainder retrospectives from his previous record company Warner. A forthcoming Christmas album from Universal is likely to see him move further


ahead of Presley. Among other acts like The Beatles who


are no longer active (at least in terms of issuing brand new recordings), Queen come the closest to the Fab Four with 5.9 million UK album sales since the turn of the century. Their top sellers are dominated by best ofs released, firstly, through EMI and


YD 4.4m TON JOHN 4.0m THE ROLLING STONES 3.7m 5.9m


Some guys have all the sales: Rod Stewart is just behind The Beatles


28.09.12 Music Week 15


Abbey Road has managed in the same period. These sales have helped to take Sgt Pepper’s 21st- century UK total to around 560,000, making it the group’s third post-millennium top seller, while Abbey Road is sixth with about 375,000 sales. Sitting in between the two studio albums are the


1973 compilations 1967-1970 and 1962-1966, which were themselves issued in remastered form in 2010 and this century have both sold more than 400,000 copies. Five of The Beatles’ 10 top century sellers are


original studio sets and also take in Revolver in seventh place, The Beatles (“The White Album”) in eighth and Rubber Soul ranked ninth. Let It Be – Naked, the 2003 reworking of recordings for what became the Let It Be album, ranks 10th, while the original Phil Spector-produced album is 14th. Probably not surprisingly, the group’s earlier


then Universal. Pink Floyd, whose own catalogue has


been subject to a recent remasters overhaul by EMI, have sold 4.4 million albums in the period, just ahead of Abba with 4.3 million. Like The Beatles, Floyd’s original studio albums continue to attract significant sales and in the case of The Dark Side Of The Moon has outsold all of the Fab Four’s studio sets this century. Having been billed as The Beatles’ big


Sixties rivals, The Rolling Stones in contemporary terms are a long way behind in album sales terms. Their 3.7 million UK albums sales this century are just 45% of what the Fab Four have achieved and only one of their studio albums – 1972’s Exile On Main Street – has sold more than 250,000 copies this century. This compares to five Beatles studio sets. The Stones also issued one new studio album in this time: 2005’s A Bigger Bang.


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