U.K. Digital Music Sales Outperform Physical Sales in First Quarter

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This marks the first time in Britain that digital sales have overtaken and offset weak CD sales.

LONDON - Digital music sales in the U.K. were stronger than physical music sales in the first quarter, the first time that this has happened here, the Daily Telegraph reported. 

Downloads and streaming music revenue accounted for 55.5 percent of total U.K. music revenue, according to trade group BPI.

Their 24.0 percent growth to £86.5 million helped offset a 15.1 percent decline in CD sales to £69.3 million ($106.5 million), leading to a 2.7 percent overall gain in the quarter to  £155.8 million ($239.0 million).

The switch to digital dominance in Britain comes after U.S. digital music sales last year accounted for more than half of overall music spending. Releases from the likes of Adele have done well in terms of physical and digital sales alike.

BPI called the U.K. development in the opening quarter of 2012 a "significant milestone," but contained its excitement.

“We will need to see this trend repeated for several quarters to say we have turned the corner - demand for physical CDs remains strong in the U.K., especially in the fourth quarter,” said BPI CEO Geoff Taylor.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai