UK singles chart: 3.7bn music records sold over 60 years

Vinyl single records The first UK singles chart was published in the NME in 1952

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Britons have bought 3.7 billion music singles since the UK chart was launched 60 years ago, figures have revealed.

This would be enough seven-inch records to stretch 16 times round the earth, the study of sales since 1952 stated.

The Official Charts Company said purchases peaked in the 1980s, before digital formats were established, when 640 million singles were sold.

Its managing director Martin Talbot said the figures gave an insight into singles sales never seen before.

He said: "Working on historic statistics from so long ago to create data reflecting sales to consumers has required diligent research and attention to detail.

"And, while it is unlikely to ever be possible to arrive at exact totals for those early years due to the nature of the data available, we are confident that these figures give us the clearest picture yet published of the development of singles sales across the six decade history of the Official Singles Chart."

The biggest selling single in the boom time for chart sales was Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas?, released in 1984.

There have been more than 1,200 number one singles since the first chart was published in the NME six decades ago.

Take That frontman Gary Barlow, who has topped the chart 14 times in his career, said: "Number ones are incredible and I don't care how many you've had in the past it still feels amazing to have a number one, in some cases even better if it's your 12th or 15th or whatever it is. It's a brilliant feeling."

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