Singers invade the US

Kimbra. Photo / Supplied
Kimbra. Photo / Supplied

American music fans have succumbed to a British invasion after figures showed that four of the five best-selling albums of the year in the Billboard charts were by UK artists.

Adele's award-winning album 21 has been named the biggest-selling record in the US for the second year in a row. The album, which spawned hits including Rolling in the Deep and Someone Like You, sold 4.4 million copies in 2012 after shifting 5.8 million in 2011.

It is the first time that one album has topped the sales chart for two years in a row since Nielsen Soundscan began tracking US album sales in 1991.

One Direction, the boyband formed by X Factor contestants, held two spots in the top five. Their 2011 debut album Up All Night was at three, while their follow-up, Take Me Home, was the fifth-best seller.

The quintet racked up a total of 2.9 million album sales but their What Makes You Beautiful single sold an additional 3.9 million track downloads, hitting number six in the 2012 US top-selling singles list.

Mumford and Sons, the British folk rockers, are now the biggest guitar band in the US. Their Babel album was the fourth best-seller and is the only rock album in the top 10.

Taylor Swift was the sole US artist in the top five with her fourth studio album Red, which sold 3.1 million copies in two months.

British acts will compete for a new Global Success Award at next month's Brit Awards, recognising those with the year's highest international sales.

The British acts' success is credited to a willingness to tour the US extensively and a keen ear for the kind of melodic song which appeals to radio programmers in a country where the medium remains crucial to mainstream success.

Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know - with New Zealander Kimbra - was the year's top-selling US song after being downloaded 6.8 million times. Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe was second with 6.5 million.

- Independent

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