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AVERAGE SALES FOR #1 DEBUTS UP IN U.K. THIS YEAR

Who said the album is dead? The impending Q4 onslaught inspired us to do a bit of research, and we discovered that average first-week #1 album sales in Blighty so far this year are the highest in the last half decade. Startling? Yes. Fake news? Numbers don’t lie.

Through last week’s Official Albums Chart, average first-week #1 album sales have tipped 84k in 2017. This time last year, the average was less than half that number at 37k, about the same as 2015’s 38k (before Adele's 25 was released in the fall). The average was 53k in 2014 and 52k in 2013.

This year’s performance has been thanks to big sellers from Rag’n’Bone Man (117k first week), Stormzy (69k), Ed Sheeran (÷ spent its first week at #1 on 672k), Kasabian (52k), Harry Styles (57k), London Grammar (43k) and Royal Blood (48k). Four of those come from Jason Iley’s Sony, and three from Max Lousada’s Warner (Stormzy is distributed through ADA). We hear David Joseph’s UMG has a few curveballs lined up for September onwards.

As a good news/bad news postscript, Sheeran’s ÷ will spend its 15th non-consecutive week at the top of the chart Friday, but the album will have the lowest sales total for a #1 record in Blighty so far this year, with just over 10k.

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