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UK digital music singles sales up near 50 percent

Digital album sales climb too

UK sales of digital music albums are increasing. And 90 percent of all UK music singles tracks are now sold via digital and mobile music services.

The BPI (British Phonographic Institute) today released figures showing that 60 million albums were sold in the first half of 2007 - 96.5 percent of those albums were sold on CD.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "Album unit sales have dipped year on year, but we are still selling 32 percent more CDs than 10 years ago."

Digital album sales grew rapidly in the first half of 2007, said the BPI. Album bundles with extra tracks, videos and sleeve artwork helped build interest in the format, while the introduction of variable pricing deals on album bundles sold through iTunes and the service's "Complete My Album" feature also boosted album sales.

"The iTunes Live Music Festival throughout July looks set to give a further boost to the digital albums market," said the BPI.

Digital album sales soared to more than 2.1 million units during the first half and passed the 100,000 weekly sales mark for the first time in June. This has offset 23 percent of the drop in CD album sales - a sign that digital sales are starting to have a real impact on the albums market, the music industry organisation observed.

Digital sales also continue to impact the singles market. The BPI revealed 36.4 million single downloads were sold in the first half of 2007 - a 49.9 percent increase on the first half of 2006, and by June digital formats were accounting for 90.1 percent of all singles sales in the U.K.

"The long tail effect is clearly visible in digital. Last week more than 198,000 different titles were sold digitally from the four million plus tracks available and the Top 40 accounted for just 12.6 percent of all single track download sold in the first half," said the BPI.

Recently published IFPI figures forecast that the industry's global digital revenues will increase from US$2 billion in 2006 to $3 billion in 2007.

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