Fuelled by gains in album and music DVD shipments, Britain's recorded music market registered volume growth of 3% in the third quarter. A record of almost 52 million albums were shipped during the Jul

Fuelled by gains in album and music DVD shipments, Britain's recorded music market registered volume growth of 3% in the third quarter. A record of almost 52 million albums were shipped during the July-September period, according to the British Phonographic Industry.

However, downward pressure on pricing at retail contributed to a 1.7% decline in the overall market value during the quarter, to just over £243 million ($457 million).

The strong third quarter helped bring the year-to-date shipments tally to a best-ever 237 million units. Total revenues for the year to Sept. 30 increased 2.7% to £1.218 billion ($2.29 billion).

Local repertoire had a significant impact during the quarter. U.K.-signed artists (including U.S. act Scissor Sisters, which are signed internationally through Polydor U.K.) provided 13 of the 20 top-selling artist albums during the period, according to the Official U.K. Charts Co., which measures over-the-counter sales for the BPI. For the first time since the trade body began publishing quarterly singles charts in 2000, British acts delivered all five top-selling singles during the quarter.

"The British record industry's continued investment in new British talent is paying off," BPI chairman Peter Jamieson says in a statement. "While albums from new British artists are selling well, the booming DVD market is making an impact and the legal download market shows that demand remains high for single-track purchases."

While the physical single format continued its trend of double-digit decline, consumer demand for legitimate downloads suggested a revival for the singles market. About 1.75 million downloads were purchased during the period, compared with 7.3 million physical singles. Consumers are buying about 250,000 downloads each week, notes the BPI.

Physical single shipments dropped almost 18% in value to £12.4 million ($23 million). The format now accounts for 4.7% of the market; in the same period last year, its share was 8%. Beginning early in the 2005, the Official U.K. Charts Co. plans to launch a combined chart for both physical and digital singles.

Shipments of music DVDs grew 50% in the third period; the format now accounts for more than 4% of the overall music market. The quarter's best-seller was the 10th anniversary DVD release of Oasis' debut, "Definitely Maybe" (Big Brother), which shifted more than 50,000 units in less than a month.

The BPI says "prospects for the final quarter are good," on the basis of a strong release schedule and anticipated gains in the DVD and download markets.