U.K. trade body the BPI said a strong fourth quarter and rising digital sales helped push the recorded music market into growth in 2009.

The BPI reported a modest 1.4% year-on-year increase in trade income of £928.8 million ($1.44 billion), based on its annual survey of industry income.

Digital income now accounts for 20.3% of overall recorded music revenues, including a-la-carte downloads, subscriptions, mobile and ad-funded income. The 2009 digital revenues total of £188.9 million ($292.2 million) is up 47.8% up on the £127.8 million ($197.7 million) earned in 2008.

Focusing on a-la-carte downloads, total income from downloads of digital tracks was £83.7 million ($129.5 million), for albums the download figure was £67.3 million ($104.1 million) and for music video sales online it was £3 million ($4.6 million). This download total increased by 51.7% to £154 million ($238.2 million) overall in 2009.

Trade income from all physical formats declined 6.1%, with total revenues down from £787.8 million ($1.22 billion) to £739.9 million ($1.14 million) - the sixth year physical sales have declined in the U.K. Big-sellers from Lady Gaga, Susan Boyle, Michael Buble, Robbie Williams and the Beatles could not prevent revenue in the physical albums market dropping 6.7% to £699.2 million ($1.08 billion) in 2009.

However, music DVD had growth of 16.1% to £33.1 million ($51.2 million), with Take That's "The Circus - Live" racking up 570,000 sales in the final month of 2009.

Revenue from physical singles was down 25.5% to £7.6 million ($11.8 million).

"It's encouraging to see industry revenues stabilize and even show modest growth in 2009," said Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive, in a statement. "This is testament to continuing investment by U.K. labels in talented artists despite challenging economic conditions, and the innovation labels have shown in licensing new digital services."

But he added that the "modest result follows a five-year drop in annual income, and total industry income has not exceeded £1 billion [$1.55 billion] since 2006."

Taylor said the CD shows "greater resilience than many predicted" while digital growth, though encouraging, "continues to be constrained by competition from illegal downloads."

Ad-supported services, including Spotify, we7, Last.fm and YouTube, boosted their contribution to industry income by 247% to £8.2 million ($12.7 million), although this is still less than 1% of the annual total. Income from subscriptions, including services such eMusic, Comes With Music, Napster, BT Vision and Spotify Premium, recorded growth of 37.2% to reach £11.8 million ($18.3 million).

Mobile revenues fell by 13.3% to £12.7 million ($19.6 million) with only income from mobile single track sales increasing by 6.8% to £8.1 million ($12.5 million).

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