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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 11:34 GMT
UK album sales 'reach new high'
Dido's Life for Rent was the only album to pass two million sales
Album sales in the UK rose by 7.6% in 2003 to a record high, fuelled by falling CD prices - in spite of piracy fears, according to an industry report.

Almost 121 million artist albums, which exclude compilations, were sold - according to Official UK Charts Company figures quoted in Music Week magazine.

Dido had the year's best-selling album with Life For Rent, followed by Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera.

In the singles market, the Black Eyed Peas had the biggest seller of 2003.

But there was no good news for the singles market as overall sales continued to slide, with a drop of nearly 30%.

Top five albums of 2003
1. Dido - Life For Rent
2. Justin Timberlake - Justified
3. Christina Aguilera - Stripped
4. Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This
5. Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
Official UK Charts Company

Black Eyed Peas sold 625,000 copies of the Where is the Love?, which stayed at number one for six weeks.

Their follow-up track Shut Up shifted 222,000 to make them the biggest selling artists of the year in terms of single sales.

But their overall sales of 848,000 units pales next to Will Young's tally of 2,520,000 singles sold in 2002.

Gareth Gates' charity record Spirit in the Sky featuring TV's The Kumars was the second biggest selling single, while R Kelly's dance hit Ignition Remix was third.

And of the top 200 singles of the year, 26 of them came from winners, runners-up or losers of reality TV talent shows, including David Sneddon, the Cheeky Girls and Girls Aloud.


Dido's second album, Life For Rent, has sold 2.1 million since its release in September, making the singer the biggest-selling album artist of the year, having won the title in 2001 thanks to her debut No Angel.

Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas scored two UK hits in 2003
The second biggest-selling album artists were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with their two albums, By the Way and Greatest Hits, followed by Busted.

Michael Jackson's legal worries have not prevented him shifting albums, with his Number Ones release, along with his back catalogue, making him the fourth best-selling album artist of 2003.

Album sales overall rose by 10 million units to 159.3 million, but the trend towards cut-price CDs means that profits have not risen.

Supermarkets and online retailers have helped push prices down to under 10.

The Official Charts Company also tracked airplay of singles, with Room 4 featuring Oliver Cheatham with Make Luv top with 57,186 plays on TV and radio.

This was followed by Justin Timberlake's Rock Your Body and Beyonce Knowles' Crazy in Love.

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