3m Christmas downloads bring cheer to industry

A rush to download music by those who received MP3 players for Christmas helped digital download sales hit an end-of-year record high. By Katie Allen

A rush to download music by those who received MP3 players for Christmas helped digital download sales hit an end-of-year record high, bringing some welcome cheer for the troubled music industry.

Almost 3m tracks were downloaded in the UK in the week between Christmas and the new year with X-Factor winner Leon Jackson's When You Believe the most popular single, according to figures from the Official Charts Company.

The number of downloads last week was double that of a year earlier, and the largest weekly tally ever for the UK. The week before Christmas also saw a surge in downloads to almost 2m tracks.

The music industry has been battling declining sales around the world for years. Although downloads are rising rapidly, the growth comes from a low base and will be welcome after a slump in CD sales and the impact of illegal downloads.

Matt Phillips at UK music industry association BPI said the results reflected the convenience and choice offered by buying digital tracks. "Even though we've seen a significant boost in download sales in the week after Christmas in recent years, this was a larger increase than expected, and sales should continue to grow throughout 2008," he said.

The post-Christmas surge helped total download sales for the year jump almost 50% on 2006 to 77.6m tracks.

The download chart

1 When You Believe Leon Jackson

2 Bleeding Love Leona Lewis

3 Apologize Timbaland ft One Republic

4 Crank That (Soulja Boy) Soulja Boy Tellem

5 Rule the World Take That

6 Call the Shots Girls Aloud

7 Valerie Mark Ronson ft Amy Winehouse

8 Fairytale of New York Pogues ft Kirsty MacColl

9 Goodbye Mr A Hoosiers

10 Heartbroken T2 ft Jodie Aysha

· Source: The official UK Charts Company


Katie Allen, media business correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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