U.K. download sales get year-end boost


LONDON -- Bumper festive season activity helped U.K. download sales in 2007 rise by almost 50% year over year, according to new figures issued Wednesday by the BPI.

Total download sales for the year reached 77.6 million, the BPI reports, up 47.7% from the 52.5 million registered in 2006.

Almost 2.95 million downloads were registered in the last week of 2007, the largest single-week figure recorded in the U.K. The performance was slightly more than double the corresponding 52nd-week download figure in 2006, registered at a little more than 1.47 million units.

In the week leading up to Christmas, more than 1.933 million download sales were registered, up from 1.331 million in the corresponding Week 51 period in 2006.

The figures were based on data gathered by charts compiler the Official U.K. Charts Company, which is jointly owned by the BPI and its retail counterpart ERA.

"Recent years have seen a boost in download sales in the week after Christmas, but this was a larger increase than expected, and sales should continue to grow throughout 2008," a BPI spokesman said.

The popularity of digital music devices as Christmas presents was one of the key factors driving demand for downloads over the late December period, according to the BPI.

In the U.K., the CD remains king of the albums format. Physical soundcarriers still account for roughly 95% of sales.