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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 12:38 GMT
Downloads outsell DVDs and vinyl
Download music sales were boosted by the launch of MyCokeMusic
Sales of legal music downloads have reached a new high to become the second most popular singles format in the UK.

More than 150,000 downloads were sold last month, exceeding sales of 12-inch, seven-inch and DVD singles, the Official Charts Company reported.

This included a record 50,000 downloads in the week after the 19 January launch of online music service MyCokeMusic.

CD singles remain the most popular singles format, however, with 341,461 sold during that week.

The Official Charts Company (OCC) began compiling legal music download figures in October, with a view to developing a separate download chart.

It said download sales had risen each month since October, but the January 2004 figures were the first to have been published.

The OCC also intends to integrate downloads into its Official Singles Chart later this year.

Albums boost

Meanwhile sales of CD albums rose by 5.6% in the UK last year, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reported.

New British artists and falling retail prices have helped the UK buck the worldwide decline in recorded music sales, it said.

The rise in sales resulted in a UK record industry revenue of 1,112m last year, an increase of 2.1% on 2002.

"This is an exceptional result considering the huge pressure the recorded music market is under worldwide," said BPI chairman Peter Jamieson.

Between 1998 and 2002, the last full year for which data was available, worldwide sales of recorded music fell by 18%. Over the same period the value of sales in the UK rose by 6%.

Mr Jamieson said the UK music industry was going through a "strong patch" thanks to high sales of albums by rock bands The Darkness and Lostprophets, and jazz stars Jamie Cullum and Katie Melua.

Traditional singles sales continued to fall last year, however, with the value of non-download singles sales dropping 33.6% last year to 64.4m.

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