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2004 Music Downloads Top 5.7m
By: MarkJ - 07 January, 2005 (12:38 PM)

The broadband boom and related Internet growth are two strong reasons behind the BPI's confirmation today that online music downloads "eclipsed physical singles sales in the last week of 2004":

2004 concluded with the UK charts passing a significant milestone; in the final week of the year downloads outsold physical singles for the first time.

The final week of 2004 saw the best week for download sales yet, with more than 312,000 sold compared to 282,000 physical singles.

This download tally exceeded the previous high by more than 20%, and was 22.3 times larger than the 14,000 registered in the first week of January 2004.

“This was an extraordinary week,” said BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson, “While many high street stores were closed for the bank holidays, online download sites are open 24/7. To that extent, you could say it was a blip, but it’s an important milestone in the growth of download sales and a sign of things to come.”

Although the physical singles market declined again, by 14.2% in 2004, the rate of decline has slowed and the 2004 launches of legal digital music services such as mycokemusic, iTunes and Napster, coupled with the launch of the UK’s Official Download Chart saw the market for digital downloads grow rapidly, with more than 5.7 million permanent digital downloads sold in 2004 – compared with virtually none in 2003, according to OCC.

Said Jamieson, “We have already announced that downloads will soon be included in the Official UK Singles Chart and had downloads been included in the singles figures for 2004, the market would have shown a 4.0 % increase.“

Highlights from the OCC figures include:

* Album sales up 2.6% on 2003 which was itself a record year;

* UK-signed repertoire dominating album charts as Scissor Sisters pip Keane to number one spot;

* 5.7 million downloads sold, lifting single-track purchases by 4.0%

* DVD continuing to boom, with sales up 47% on 2003

The figures were collated by the Official UK Chart Company (OCC), which monitors sales in almost 6,000 stores and Internet sites across the UK.

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