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UK music sales grow

Digital downloads go mass market

The UK music industry is displaying strong second quarter performance as interest in sounds reawakens.

Digital music downloads have seen mass market adoption, with two million units sold so far this year. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) says: "2004 is clearly marking a significant breakthrough in the legal downloading of music."

On 1 June the BPI revealed that the year-to-date total of digital music sales had reached 500,000 units, meaning downloads have climbed from a rate of 100,000 per month to 500,000 per month over the last quarter. In the US, digital downloads now account for two million sales per week.

The launch of iTunes Music Store and Napster have "proved the catalyst for a massive uplift in the market", the BPI said.

Organisation chairman Peter Jamieson said: "Downloading increasingly means consumers can buy what they want when they want it. After years of work laying the foundations for the legal download business, the industry is seeing its dream of a celestial jukebox coming true."

Second quarter results released today by the BPI reveal that the value of UK music sales has risen 4 percent year-on-year, with the singles market showing its first increase for five years: 15.4 percent increase by volume and 8.1 percent by value. Album sales climbed 3.7 percent, while music DVD sales doubled.

Single sales have halved since the eighties, when they reached 70 million sales per year. Album sales have doubled in the same period.

Jamieson said: "For years we've read stories about the death of the single. The single never died. Consumers just opted to buy albums instead."

UK music talent is also doing well, with Franz Ferdinand, Joss Stone and The Darkness "scoring US breakthroughs", the BPI said. UK talent also dominated Japan's main music festivals.

The UK's Official Download Chart also launches on 1st September, with Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills presenting the new chart on Wednesday's at 6pm. The chart takes information from the majority of digital download service providers in the UK, including Apple.


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