We may have recently finished well down in the popularity stakes in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, but British pop music need not despair based on recent global sales figures. The British Phonographic Industry's (BPI) latest figures indicate that the stars of UK Music have had a record year in terms of their contribution. A highly favourable one in seven of all albums that were sold across the world in 2014 could be traced back to an act from these shores.

Variety of artists featured

Perhaps even more encouraging from a diversification and variety point of view, the success seems to have been shared around among the British music talent that is out there.

As an example, in Australia Paloma Faith's album "A Perfect Contradiction" was popular, although the market really loved Ed Sheeran's "X", which was the top seller of the year. There was also room for Coldplay, Sam Smith and Pink Floyd's albums in the high-selling artist lists as well Down Under.

High UK sales abroad

The BPI is the trade association for the British recorded music industry. Their figures suggested that the combined sales from UK singles and albums raised some $2.75 billion in 2014. In the highly lucrative American market, music of UK origin provided about 12% of the total album sales. That was impressive in its own right, but the percentage rose to 15% in Canada and as high as 20% when the figures from Italy and Australia were considered.

With British pop music being accountable for 13.7% of worldwide sales last year (up from 13% in 2013), it represented the highest proportion since the BPI started recording the figures in the year 2000.

Top ten global album sales

Encouragingly, the BPI's findings highlighted that out of the top ten global artists in 2014, five were from Britain.

Their figures incorporated album sales, individual track sales and streams into a combined total. Besides the pacesetting One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Pink Floyd and Grammy winner Sam Smith, AC/DC were also in the top ten. Britain could 'loosely' have a partial claim on the legendary rock band, as although AC/DC are essentially Australian, the brothers Angus and Malcolm Young who formed the band were both born in Glasgow, Scotland.

Albums market shrinking

It was not tremendous news for the music industry overall though. The albums market overall is still shrinking in terms of its global size, with permanent downloads believed to be down by 8% last year. Although revenues from streaming increased by almost 40%, there was still an overall decline in sales across the world to $15 billion (down 0.4%).

Taylor Swift top

The BPI's Music Market 2015 Yearbook indicated that Taylor Swift was the biggest selling artist globally, as her album 1989 sold some 6 million copies. Also featuring in the top ten artists globally were Katy Perry, Beyonce and (even though he died in 2009) Michael Jackson, with his album "Xscape". The 'new' album featured previously unreleased material from past recording sessions.