The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) released a report on Monday stating that the digital music downloads market has tripled in the first half of this year. Downloads now account for 6% of total record industry sales, rising from $220 million at this time last year to $790 million today.
The increase in downloads neatly offsets declines in the retail sales of physical CDs and DVDs, which fell by 6.3%. The decline in physical sales was reported to be due to illegal downloading, CD burning, and lower retail prices for CDs and DVDs.
The increase in downloads is a result of faster broadband internet connections and more and better portable music players, including 3G mobile phones.
Apple’s iTunes accounted for 82% of the legal download market having sold more than 500 million single track downloads and 22 million iPod players. The recording industry is aggressively attacking illegal downloads, having pursued litigation against over 14,800 individuals in the US.