Last month the number of paid for music downloads passed the 500 million mark, it was revealed today.
Figures published by The Official Charts Company show that by the end of August 100 million legal downloads were downloaded in the UK this year and if this trend continues the full-year total should reach 170 million.
Music retail sales were decimated by the emergence of illegal downloading at the beginning of the decade but since the launch of legitimate music downloading in 2004 the industry has started to fight back and recover sales levels.
Martin Talbot, Managing Director of The Official Charts Company, commented: “The surpassing of this latest landmark highlights just how enthusiastically music consumers have taken to legitimate music download services in the UK.
“Sales are continuing to grow too, thanks to the popularity of artists such as Owl City, Eminem, Usher, Katy Perry and Rihanna.”
The total number of legal downloads is now equivalent to eight tracks for each member of the UK population and two albums for every household.
Although sales of albums continue to fall, down 3.3 per cent year-to-date, single sales are at an all-time high increasing 4.4 per cent since January.
BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: “This milestone underlines how artists, labels and retailers in the UK have worked together to make Britain one of the world’s most vibrant digital music markets.
“There are nearly 70 legal music services, more than any other country, and consumers continue to embrace the choice, value and innovation on offer. 500 million downloads is an astonishing achievement especially given the ongoing backdrop of widespread illegal downloading the music industry still faces.”