To qualify for the UK albums chart the album must be the correct length and price. It must be at least 3 tracks or 20 minutes long and not be classed as a budget album. A budget album costs between £0.50 and £4.24. Additionally, various artist compilations - which until January 1989 were included in the main album listing - are now listed separately in a compilations chart. Full details of the rules can be found at The Official UK Chart Company Rules
Though album sales tend to produce more revenue and, over time, act as a greater measure of an artist's success, this chart receives less media attention than the UK Singles Chart, due to overall sales of an album being more important than its peak position. Indeed, in recent years, the album chart has been in good health despite fears that music innovations such as MP3 players would threaten the traditional album. 2005 even saw a record number of artist album sales , with 126.2 million sold in the UK.
In the 1970s the new album chart was revealed at 12.45pm on Thursdays on BBC Radio 1, and then moved to 6.05 pm (later 6.30 pm) on Wednesday evenings during the Peter Powell and Bruno Brookes shows. In October 1987 it moved to Monday lunchtimes, during the Gary Davies show, and from April to October 1993 it briefly had its own show from 7.00-8.00 pm on Sunday evenings, introduced by Lynn Parsons. Since October 1993 it has been included in the UK Top 40 show from 4.00-7.00 pm on Sundays. A weekly 'Album Chart' show was licensed out to BBC Radio 2 and presented by Simon Mayo, until it ended on 2 April 2007. The current No.1 album as of 28 September 2008 is Only by the Night by Kings of Leon.
The longest running number one album, both consecutively and non-consecutively, is the soundtrack of the film South Pacific. It had a consecutive run of seventy weeks from November 1958 to March 1960 (meaning it was number one for the entire year of 1959), and had further runs at the top in 1960 and 1961, making a non-consecutive total of one hundred and fifteen weeks.
The youngest person to top the charts is Scotland's Neil Reid, who after winning Opportunity Knocks topped the charts in 1972 at the age of 12 years 9 months old. The youngest girl to top the chart is Avril Lavigne at 17 years and 3 months with Let Go in 2003.
Elkie Brooks the best selling female artist of albums in the U.K.
The fastest selling album is Be Here Now by Oasis which sold nearly one million copies on its first week. The fastest selling album by a female artist is Life for Rent by Dido. It sold one million in 50 days, on the way there it sold 102,500 on day one and 400,351 in the first week.