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Downloads hit Christmas peak

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Christmas 2005 saw a new record set for downloaded music - with the last week of the year seeing more than 20m music tracks downloaded and paid for by US customers - three-times higher than the 2004 figure.

This compares to the previous record set the week before Christmas of 9.5m downloads - suggesting a lot of Americans woke up to find new music players in their Christmas stockings.

Sales of MP3 players also exceeded sales of personal CD players for the first time. More on the Beeb here.

Meanwhile, punters in the UK were also getting into this download thing. Figures from the BPI show a massive 357 per cent growth to 26.4m single tracks downloaded in 2005. The last week of the year also saw weekly download figures top one million for the first time.

Physical sales also grew, with artist album sales up 1.4 per cent to 126.2m in the year. But the BPI blamed an increase in piracy for falling sales of compilation albums, which were down 15.7 per cent. ®

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