Pop music at its most popular since nineties’ heyday

Pop music has taken over from rock to claim one in three albums, singles and compilations sales, the BPI has announced.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 1 Apr 2015
  • min read
The figures, based on Official Charts Company data, show that releases from Ed Sheeran (left), Sam Smith, Paolo Nutini and Paloma Faith helped pop to steal the crown from rock in 2014, boosting its share of albums sales to more than a third (34.5 percent) in the UK.

The last time pop enjoyed such success (36.2 percent) was in 1999 when boy bands were booming and the likes of The Corrs and Robbie Williams topped the charts.

Pop continued its triumph over other genres in the compilations sector where it accounted for almost half (48.8 percent) of the market and claimed six of the top 10 biggest sellers of the year.

For the sixth year in a row, pop took more than a third (36 percent) of singles market share thanks to super-hits from Pharrell Williams, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor.

However, rock music remained a firm favourite, accounting for 33.2 percent of all album sales in the UK and making it four times as popular as dance music.

The genre was buoyed by new albums from Royal Blood and AC/DC, alongside releases by Kasabian, Elbow and Foo Fighters.

Scottish DJ, Calvin Harris, and Swedish producer, Avicii, helped dance to retain third place in the albums market with 7.7 percent of the share – down slightly from 8.3 percent the previous year.

It maintained its second place position in the compilations market with a 23 percent share, thanks to Ministry of Sound’s Eat Sleep Rave Repeat.

BPI head of PR, Lynne McDowell, said: ‘Be it pop hits, rock classics, dance anthems, classical compositions or country collaborations, British artists and labels continue to work together to make music loved by fans across the nation.

‘The UK has a rich and diverse cultural heritage and we can be proud of the cross-genre music royalty that we have produced down through the decades to this very day.’

Read our feature on the rising popularity of British rock music

Album Sales By Type of Music 
Source: Official Charts Company/BPI


Genre 2008200920102011201220132014
MOR/Easy Listening7.
Hip Hop2.
Spoken Word0.
New Age0.