The market for music downloads from the internet tripled in value during the first half of this year and now accounts for 6% of total record industry sales.
The value of digital music downloads to computers and mobile phones rose to US$790 million (NZ$1.13 billion) in the first half of this year, up from US$220 million during the same time last year, according a statement released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry earlier this week.
The digital music market has already overtaken the global singles market in terms of value, the London-based industry group says.
The group says booming demand for music downloads nearly offset a decline in sales of recorded music on formats such as CDs and DVDs, which fell 6.3% in retail value to US$12.4 billion in the first six months of the year.
Music industry recording sales dropped 1.9% to US$13.2 billion overall in the first half of the year, compared to US$13.4 billion in the same period of 2004.
Lower retail prices for CDs in some key markets, a small decline in DVD music video sales and the continued impact of illegal downloading and CD burning caused the on-year decline, IFPI says.
“The figures show online and mobile sales making a significant impact on the world music market for the first time,” the organisations says.
The surge in digital music sales is being driven by increased use of broadband internet services, portable digital music players and 3G (third generation) mobile phones, IFPI says.