LONDON (Reuters) - Welsh singer Duffy, a relative unknown a year ago, topped the British album charts in 2008 with "Rockferry," although the overall album market continued to decline this year.
Rockferry, Duffy's debut album which has been nominated for a coveted Grammy award in the Best Pop Vocal Album category, sold 1.69 million copies this year, ahead of Take That's "The Circus" which sold 1.45 million copies.
Also topping the million mark were Kings of Leon, Leona Lewis and Coldplay, according to figures from the Official Charts Company (OCC).
"We haven't done the full analysis yet, but anecdotally the album market is down by about five percent (in 2008)," said Martin Talbot, managing director of the OCC.
The music business is struggling to reverse a steep decline in sales in recent years, blamed mainly on online music piracy and growing competition from other forms of entertainment, notably video games.
In contrast, the UK singles market grew by around 30 percent, Talbot added, boosted by digital downloads. Final figures for 2008 have yet to be released. In the singles chart, the two top-selling acts of 2008 were from the television talent show The X Factor, with the winner Alexandra Burke's debut single "Hallelujah" selling 888,000 copies in all formats.
In second place was charity record "Hero," sung by the X Factor finalists, with sales of 751,000 followed by Duffy's "Mercy" (536,000).
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; editing by Keith Weir