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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Mobile downloads hit the charts
Jonathan Fildes
BBC News technology reporter

Mobile music fan
14% of all music downloads are to mobile phones
More people than ever are downloading music on their mobile phones, new data suggests.

Nearly 7% of all chart music bought this year has been downloaded through a mobile service, according to the Official UK Charts Company (OCC).

That represents nearly 70,000 chart singles bought every week by people on the move.

Users of the 3G network 3 account for more than half the total sales with the rest coming from Vodafone and Orange.

Chart influence

The mobile music business, including ringtones, is now thought to be worth 3.2bn. Its growth reflects the continuing trend away from traditional music formats like CDs and DVDs.

Consultants, Deloitte predict that by the end of 2006 a fifth of all music sales will be made digitally.

These music purchases were first recognised in an official download chart in September 2004.

Gnarls Barkley

Since April 2005 all downloads of chart music contribute to a new combined singles chart that includes the UK top 40.

This week Crazy by Gnarls Barkley was tipped to make history by being the first UK number one single based on digital download sales alone.

Other bands and artists hoping to appear on BBC Radio One's Top Forty Show can now rely on nearly 30,000 mobile downloads to get them into the charts.

Graeme Oxby, marketing director of 3, said the figures show how mobile phone users are now influencing the music industry.

"Their choices have as much impact on the charts as a traditional music store" he said.

New services

However, the consumption by mobile music fans is still relatively small compared to downloads from the web through services like iTunes and Napster. People buying music off the internet still account for 86% of all legal digital downloads of chart music.

The numbers are released in the same week that Vodafone customers gained access to a new service that will allow them to download individual tracks at a fixed cost.

Until now consumers without 3G had to effectively pay twice for any download: once for the track and once for the cost of delivering the data to their mobile, increasing the cost of a track by up to eight pounds.

The new service will offer singles for a flat fee of 1.50.

Network operator Orange is expected to offer a similar service very soon.

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