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UK digital music sales finally overtake physical

Digital music sales have surpassed physical sales in the UK for the first time, the British Phonographic Industry reports.

Digital purchases accounted for 55.5 per cent of revenue from music sales in the first quarter of 2012 and have contributed to the record industry's 2.7 per cent growth to £155.8 million, despite a decline in the number of CDs sold.

The total digital revenue in the first three months of the year reached £86.5 million, representing nearly a quarter of growth from the same time last year.

Physical sales totalled £69.3 million, a considerable year-on-year decrease of 15 per cent, the BPI's figures show.

"UK record labels have embraced digital to their core, supporting innovation and licensing more new online and mobile services than any other country", said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor, highlighting the growing importance of digital trends to consumers.

The US reached a similar milestone last year, with digital accounting for just over half of American music purchases.

The rise of streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and Samsung's new Music Hub represent further evidence that digital music will continue to represent larger slices of the global music economy.