updated 03:25 pm EDT, Wed April 12, 2006
UK digital music surge
While music sales continue to surge in the UK, labels can rest assured that CDs are not going away anytime soon. The British music trade organization BPI announced that UK consumers purchased a record 27.9 million artist albums in the first three months of 2006-- up almost 1.5 percent. BPI also noted that Europe, especially the UK, was rapidly accepting the new digital formats, as evidenced by the first the download-only number one single last week. "With the announcement of the first download-only number one single last week and the inclusion of downloads in the albums chart this week, the UK record industry can declare that the first part of its mission is now complete," BPI chairman Peter Jamieson. The figures show that in the first three months of 2006, sales of digital downloads were 152% up on the same period in 2005.
"We thought it would take three years, but in just 30 months the UK record industry has transformed itself from one that was 100 per cent focused on physical product to the most advanced digital music market in Europe."
Jamieson's comments coincide with the release of sales figures from the Official UK Charts Company that measure "over the counter" sales at retail outlets and digital music services.
Digital downloads enter charts
Two weeks ago Gnarls Barkley scored a Number One hit in the UK singles chart on the strength of downloads alone, and has since sold another 73,000 downloads and 121,000 physical singles to stay at number one. This week digital downloads became eligible for the albums chart for the first time.
"Recent successes from Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz and the Arctic Monkeys show how digital can be complementary to physical," said Jamieson. "The lesson of history is that new technology expands the market for music and that is why record companies are so enthusiastically embracing the new digital formats."