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Music sales drop 11% despite growth of digital downloads

Adele 21

More of us are buying albums as digital downloads, but overall music sales declined in the third quarter of this year, according to figures from the Official Charts Company for the three months to September 2011.

Despite the increasing popularity of downloads, sales of physical formats such as CD and vinyl continued to decline, with the overall music market down 11.4% year-on-year to 21.8 million units.

Digital downloads accounted for 28.2% of all UK albums sold in the third quarter, up 24.2% on the previous year, to reach 6.1 million.

Single sales are now almost entirely digital, accounting for 99.7% of all sales in the third quarter, up by 13% to 42.4 million.

Sales of physical albums, including CD and vinyl, were down 20.5% year on year to 15.5 million units.

Adele's hit albums 21 and 19 dominated the album charts in the year to date, out-selling new releases by Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

The figures were compiled by the Official Charts Company for UK music industry body the BPI.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.