One Direction
One Direction had the biggest selling album in the world in 2013. Getty

One Direction had the biggest selling album in the world last year.

The British band's third album, Midnight Memories, sold four million copies in six weeks.

Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for the music industry trade body BPI, said: "For home-grown talent to have recorded the world's biggest selling album six out of the last seven years is a phenomenal achievement that says a great deal about the popularity of British music around the world.

"Aside from the obvious contribution to British exports, this success underlines the vital role our music and artists play in promoting the appeal of British culture around the world."

The band were formed by Simon Cowell after each member auditioned separately. They have gone on to become the most successful British boy band in the world today.

Robbie Williams' Swings Both Ways was the 18th biggest seller, while David Bowie's comeback album The Next Day came in at 35.

Adele's 21 and Babel by Mumford and Sons reported strong sales.

In the British artists accounted for just over half (52%) of all album sales in 2013.