A buoyant albums sector and resurgent singles sales helped the British recorded-music market register a year-on-year rise in value of 4.1% during the second quarter, the British Phonographic Industry

A buoyant albums sector and resurgent singles sales helped the British recorded-music market register a year-on-year rise in value of 4.1% during the second quarter, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reported today (Aug. 23).

Trade deliveries in the three months ending June 30 reached £230.93 million ($420 million), up from £221.88 million ($404 million) in the corresponding period last year, according to the BPI's market figures. The trade body's annualized totals for the past 12 months reveal market growth of 3%, for a value of £1.22 billion ($2.22 billion).

The British albums sector was one of the second-quarter high notes, registering year-on-year growth of 3.7% to a value of £210.10 million ($382.65 million).

In its report, the trade body also highlights the rebounding singles sector, which showed growth for the first time in five years. The value of CD singles deliveries rose 8.1% to £10.54 million ($19.19 million). Overall, the singles format rose 6.4% in value during the period to £13.72 million ($24.99 million). The last time the British singles market registered growth was the second quarter of 1999.

The BPI attributes much of the singles revival to last year's "Future of the Charts" industry initiative, which introduced a lower-priced two-track CD single. "For years we've read stories about the death of the single. The single never died," comments BPI chairman Peter Jamieson. "Consumers just opted to buy albums instead. But this new increase in the singles market has to be welcome news," he adds.

Elsewhere in its report, the BPI says the music DVD sector doubled its share of the U.K. music market. The music DVD format was worth £7.1 million ($12.93 million) during the quarter, up 10.7% year-on-year, and accounted for 4% of all recorded-music sales.

The BPI also reports that the legitimate music download market is gathering steam, having amassed sales of more than 2 million tracks since the start of the year. On June 1, the BPI confirmed year-to-date download sales had surpassed the 500,000 milestone. Average monthly download sales have since increased five-fold since that report, due largely to the arrival of download services such as Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store, Napster U.K. and Sony Connect. The U.K.'s Official Download Chart is set to launch Sept. 1.

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