U2's new album destined for British No. 1

The group’s 12th studio album is expected to be one of the pop world’s biggest in 2009, and strong sales would provide a boost for an industry struggling to reverse a downward trend in physical record sales.

The Official Charts Company (OCC) said the album had sold more than four times as many copies as its nearest rival in the first two days of the new chart week, putting it on course to be the fastest-selling album so far this year.

While U2’s stature and the publicity blitz in the runup to No Line’s release on Monday virtually guaranteed it a number one slot in Britain, the outright figure is likely to be more closely watched.

The OCC did not give a figure, but Music Week publication said first-day sales were around 65,000, a total one industry expert said was impressive but not record-breaking.

The OCC said No Line would be U2’s 10th British No. 1 album, putting them on a par with the Rolling Stones and Madonna and one shy of Elvis Presley. The Beatles hold the record with 15.

No Line is the group’s first album in over four years and is being released by Vivendi’s Universal Music Group label.

U2’s last record, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb," sold nine million copies worldwide.