LONDON - It was a bumper year for the UK music industry as downloads overtook single sales in the run up to the New Year. This is the first time that downloads have been able to put the more traditional singles sales in the shadow, underlining the changing taste of the consumer.
26.4 million tracks were downloaded in 2005 as against the 5.6 million tracks that were downloaded in 2004. This is a staggering increase of 350 percent! This trend continued into the New Year as the initial weeks saw over 1 million digital sales mainly boosted by the frenzied holiday buying.
Traditional single sales dipped by 19 percent to 21.4 million units last year, while the overall digital as well as the "physical single track songs" sales grew by 48 percent in 2005, according to the Official Chart Company, which compiled these figures for the British Phonographic Industry."The music industry's firm line on digital music piracy and its support for new digital music retailers has seen the digital music market grow by 350 per cent in 2005," said Peter Jamieson, chairman of the BPI.
But the UK album market dipped by 2.7 percent to 159 million units. However this was an acceptable performance when compared to the 7.2 percent drop across the Atlantic. Sales of albums by individual artists and bands grew by 1.4 percent, but there was a 15.7 percent drop in compilation sales, "The [earlier] rise of compilations and the Pop Idol phenomenon led some to suggest the days of the great artist album were numbered. On the contrary, strong investment in new talent means album sales are flourishing," Jamieson pointed out.
James Blunt was the top selling artist with his Back to Bedlam topping sales. Tony Christie's Amarillo was the best selling single in 2005. Coldplay's X&Y, Kaiser Chiefs' Employment and Robbie Williams' Intensive Care also sold substantially.
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