2:14pm Thursday 7th February 2013
© Press Association 2013
A fifth of Britons now buy only downloads for their music consumption, according to new figures.
The study, compiled for trade body the British Phonographic Industry, shows 19.6% of consumers have abandoned buying physical versions.
The data, examining the impact of the digital music industry, was published on the day it was announced retailer HMV - which is in administration - will close 66 shops.
It comes within hours of the download world reaching another milestone as the iTunes Store sold its 25 billionth track.
The new BPI figures show 27.7% of people in the UK bought downloads or used streaming services online. It is almost double the 14.5% who own up to regularly using illegal filesharing sites.
The streaming market is said to be worth £49 million to record labels.
The BPI said the Digital Music Nation 2013 report demonstrates the opportunities open to the record industry in the online world.
The music body's chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "There has rightly been a lot of focus in the past few weeks on high street music retail. That will continue - we must do all we can to serve music fans who love CDs and vinyl.
"But as well as great music stores, Britain is blessed with a world-beating array of digital music services, which fans rate very highly for ease of use and value for money.
"Labels are striking innovative new deals with mobile networks, hardware manufacturers, app developers and start-ups. The music fan will be the clear winner, as digital services evolve to deliver even richer music experiences via super-fast broadband and 4G to tablets, smart TVs and the next generation of in-car audio."
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