Quarter of all UK album sales are digital downloads

Digital album downloads now make up over a quarter of all albums sold in the UK. But the music industry still has a way to go before it is in the clear from pirates and file-sharers.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Digital album sales have already beaten last year's record, with 21.3 million downloaded through online music stores, with still two months to go until the year's end.

Sales in the digital album market now makes up over a quarter of all album sales in the UK, at 26 percent up from 17.5 percent last year, official data shows.

(Source: Flickr, CC)

According to reports, Lady Gaga, Jessie J and Ed Sheeran are among the most popular digital download artists of the year, selling over 100,000 copies of their work.

Coldplay's recently released album, Mylo Xyloto, is the latest album to top the 100,000 digital download mark, with an estimated 40 percent of Coldplay's album sales coming from digital sales in the first week.

Adele's debut album, 21, remains the biggest selling digital album in the UK of all time, with over 650,000 downloads sold in 2011 alone, selling nearly twice as many as Lady Gaga's The Frame, putting the long-awaited album in second place.

During the last week of 2010, between Christmas and New Year, digital album sales topped a record 800,000 digital downloads, correlating between new music players, computers and other digital devices to access online music stores and track downloads.

The rise of the iPod and music players, along with the iTunes market which makes legal downloading of tracks so simple, has not only led to the downfall and disintegration of many main street music stores, but the sudden jump towards online music.

But as the music industry is looking healthier year on year, amid legal battles and difficulties for artists with growing online piracy, illegal downloads and file-sharing websites continue to operate.

Last month, UK telecoms giant BT was court-ordered to block customers' access to file-sharing site Newzbin2 to prevent further piracy. The site's owners said that the blocks put in place were circumvented by most of its visitors.

But BT battles another test to the UK's 'open' web with a coalition of music industry partners, led by the BPI, lobbying the telecoms giant to block access to The Pirate Bay, or face court.


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