Beethoven's symphonies were downloaded nearly 1.4 million times when they were made available for a limited time for free on the BBC Radio 3 website.
Beethoven's nine symphonies were made available
The site offered all nine symphonies, performed by the BBC Philharmonic, with number nine proving most popular with 220,461 requests.
BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright said the response from the audience had been "remarkable".
It sparked debate about classical music in the digital world, he said.
"This download experiment began as an added extra to our Beethoven Experience, and quickly took on a life of its own," added Mr Wright.
The symphonies, which were recorded in Manchester and conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, were available for one week following transmission on Radio 3.
Because the programmes were free they were not eligible for the official UK download or top 40 singles chart.