UK digital album sales have surpassed the ten million mark for 2011 in record time, new figures from the Official Charts Company show.
Illustrating the growing trend of purchasing digital music, the milestone was reached at the beginning of last week, two-and-a-half months earlier than sales reached ten million in 2010.
By the end of last year, digital album sales reached 16.7 million, the highest the market had seen, and now it is predicted that sales will exceed 20 million by the end of this year.
According to MusicWeek, the number of album downloads bought legally so far this year already surpasses those sold in the entirety of 2008.
Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, said: “The continuing growth of album downloads underlines how the music market is evolving from a wholly physically-based business to a digital business.”
Much of the sales this year have been led by soul act Adele, who has the year’s biggest-selling album of 2011 so far with 21. The album was the first to pass the 500,000 download mark, although she has sold more than 600,000 digital albums worldwide.
Adele’s album, her second, is still holding strong in the UK album chart, remaining at number two last Sunday (June 26th).
However, Mr Talbot added that while digital is going from strength to strength, physical album sales are co-existing and will for some time to come.
He told the news provider: “Digital albums still only account for 22 per cent of all albums sold – at this stage in the life-cycle of the digital single, physical sales had declined to less than 10 per cent. In comparison, the CD album will be around for plenty of time to come.”
The only other artists to get close to Adele’s impressive digital album downloads, surpassing 100,000 digital copies, are Rihanna’s Loud, Bruno Mars’ Doo-Wops & Hooligans and Jessie J’s Who You Are.
Florence + the Machine’s Lungs is the only other album to pass the 100,000 milestone, the only album to reach the mark last year.
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