Digital fans are set to make 2013 the biggest year for singles sales in UK history, according to the Official Charts Company.
Britain has fallen back in love with the pop single, an endangered species less than a decade ago as CD sales slumped, prompting the cancellation of the flagship series Top of the Pops.
Download sales, almost exclusively through iTunes, are up 2.5 per cent this year, boosted by million-selling singles including Daft Punk’s "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines".
Sales of compilation albums, led by the 84th edition of Now! That’s What I Call Music are also booming. The compilation sector is up 9 per cent this year, reflecting the popularity of albums bundling together the biggest current hits.
"Get Lucky", featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers has overtaken Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ "Thrift Shop" to take the title of 2013’s biggest-selling single so far. It has sold over a million copies since it was released just over 10 weeks ago.
Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines", which also features Pharrell Williams, alongside US rapper TI, is hot on its heels clocking up more than 828,000 sales over the last month.
The best-selling Top 10 singles of 2013 so far have sold more than half a million copies each, while nearly three quarters of the Top 40 (27 tracks) have sold over 300,000 copies each.
This week’s chart-topper, "I Love It" by Swedish duo Icona Pop, is the 11th week in a row that the UK’s Official Number 1 single has sold in excess of 100,000 copies. The last time the Official Singles Chart recorded such a run was in 1998.
However there are no British artists among the year’s top five best-selling singles, which is dominated by the French duo Daft Punk and US R&B/dance stars. That situation is expected to change with the imminent return of UK rapper Tinie Tempah, who will release a new single, "Trampoline".
The singles sales figures do not include digital streaming on platforms such as Spotify, which is responsible for millions more “plays” of the most popular tracks.
The albums market however continues to decline as download sales fail to make up the decline in physical music.
In the US, digital single track sales have fallen back 2 per cent in 2013, suggesting that music fans will ultimately switch to subscription streaming services.
Last weekend’s Glastonbury festival is set to give the British albums market a boost with Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys, Rolling Stones and Chase & Status recording sales uplifts since their televised performances.
According to midweek sales data, nearly 50 per cent of this week’s Top 40 albums (19 albums) are by acts who played at Glastonbury.
The Official Top 40 Biggest Selling Singles Of 2013 So Far:
1. Get Lucky by Daft Punk FT Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
2. Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke TI Pharrell Williams
3. Thriftshop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis FT Wanz
4. Just Give Me A Reason by Pink FT Nate Ruess
5. Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
6. Let Her Go by Passenger
7. La La La by Naughty Boy FT Sam Smith
8. Pompeii by Bastille
9. Waiting All Night by Rudimental FT Ella Eyre
10. I Knew Your Were Trouble by Taylor Swift