The year in which the most million-sellers were released is 2011, with twelve; while a record 36 releases from both the 1990s and the 2010s have sold a million copies.

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A million-selling single is regarded by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as one that has sold at least 1 million copies since the start of the UK Singles Chart in November 1952.

As well as a traditional purchase of a physical record, a sale can represent one permanent digital download of a track (physical singles usually consist of two songs, although both are only included in sales figures for double A sides or where both receive a high level of interest and airplay).

To qualify for the Official Albums Chart the album must be the correct length and price.

It must be more than three tracks or 20 minutes long and not be classed as a budget album. Additionally, various artist compilations – which until January 1989 were included in the main album listing – are now listed separately in a compilations chart.

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 19, making a non-consecutive total of 115 weeks.

With eight consecutive UK number-one albums, Led Zeppelin and ABBA are tied for the most consecutive chart-topping UK albums.

The male solo artist with the most weeks at number one is Presley with a total of 66 weeks.

Presley also holds the record for the most number one albums by a solo artist (13) and most top ten albums by any artist (50). Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is now in third-place after being supplanted by Queen and then by ABBA's Gold: Greatest Hits.

The highest threshold is "Platinum record" and was then awarded to singles that sold more than 1 million units.

For singles released after 1 January 1989, the number of sales required to qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver records was dropped to 600,000 units (Platinum), 400,000 units (Gold) and 200,000 units (Silver).

The total of these streams is divided by 1000 and added to the pure sales of the album.