London, UK (July 11, 2007)--New figures released by UK record labels association the BPI indicate that 90 percent of all singles are now sold through online and mobile platforms, while digital album sales are beginning to have a significant impact on the albums market.
With 60 million album sales in the first half of 2007, the UK market remains strong, with 96.5 percent of these albums sold as physical product. Sales of CD albums reached almost 58 million in the first half of 2007, an increase of 32 percent in 10 years; nonetheless, over-the-counter CD sales slipped by 10 percent during the first half of 2007, dropping to 57.9 million units sold. Despite that news, UK music fans remain the biggest CD buyers per head in the world, annually buying more than 150 million units for four years running.
The first half of the year saw digital album sales grow rapidly, thanks to innovative marketing and retail campaigns, according to the BPI. Sales soared to more than 2.1 million units during the first half and passed the 100,000 weekly sales mark for the first time in June. This has offset 23 percent of the drop in CD album sales.
Many consumers still prefer the convenience and value for money offered by compilation CDs, sales of which increased by 2.6 percent in the first six months of the year. Now That's What I Call Music 66 entered the UK chart at number 1 and is the second best-selling album of the year, after Back To Black by Amy Winehouse.
The continued growth in digital helped the overall market for singles increase by 29 percent across all formats. The 36.4 million downloads sold in the first half of 2007 represented a 49.9 percent increase on the first half of 2006, and by June digital formats were accounting for 90.1 percent of all singles sales in the UK.
The long tail effect is clearly visible in digital. Last week more than 198,000 different titles were sold digitally from the 4 million-plus tracks available and the Top 40 accounted for just 12.6 percent of all single track downloads sold in the first half.
Sales of CD singles fell, but there was a further revival in seven-inch vinyl. Sales were up by 12.9 percent in the first half led by the best seller, the White Stripes' "Icky Thump."