The album, which was released in January 2011, has so far notched up sales of 596,000 in 2012, with Adele – who recently announced her first pregnancy – fighting off competition from fellow female singers Emeli Sande and Lana del Rey.

It has sold 4.36m copies since release, and in May overtook Michael Jackson’s Thriller to become the UK’s fifth biggest-selling album of all time.

Emeli Sande’s debut album Our Version Of Events is the second biggest-seller of the year so far, with sales of 532,000, while Lana del Rey’s Born To Die is third with 482,000 sales.

Ed Sheeran’s +, which has sold 448,000 – bringing his total sales to 1.2m – and Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto, which has sales of 312,000 and 1.2m since release, completed the top five.

In total 43.6m albums were sold in the first half of 2012 – almost seven million fewer than were shifted during the same time period in 2011 – but digital sales of music have risen by 17.3 per cent in that time.

‘We’ve had another solid quarter of digital growth in sales volumes, both in albums and on singles,’ said British Phonographic Industry chairman Geoff Taylor.

‘Album unit sales are down quite significantly year-on-year. But it’s important to remember that these unit sales figures do not take into account the growing importance of music streaming and subscription services.’






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