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Digital singles all the rage in Europe

Still don't make much dosh, though

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Sales of digital singles across Europe rose 13 per cent in the first half of 2011 – although in many cases it is simply younger local markets playing catch-up. Almost 170 million were sold in all, Nielsen has reported.

In Germany, singles sales were up 20 per cent, but the most mature market – the UK – still accounts for almost half the singles sold in Europe, with 47 per cent. The UK market still managed to record a 10.6 per cent rise.

These are all quite impressive figures, as to buy digital music you generally need a credit card – and most of the the traditional singles market of teenagers doesn't have a credit card.

Adele (3.22 million) sold more singles than Lady Gaga (2.36 million), or anyone else. Quite an achievement for a small indie label artist.

But before you send for more "chocolates and flowers", this graph puts the success in context. The music industry still looks to faithful older CD purchasers for the bulk of its income.

UK recorded music sales 2005-2010

And more ominously, the digital growth is stalling.

With music more popular than ever, there's a shortfall between willing payers and the download or streaming services for which they'll pay. It's only fair to the artists that people try harder than ever to fill that gap. ®

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