Digital music powers on as CD sales are hard hit

One-third of music albums were bought on digital formats in the first three months of this year in a fresh sign that the physical CD is in decline. Hit albums such as Adele's 21 and Lana Del Rey's Born to Die helped to boost digital sales in Britain by almost 20 per cent, according to music-trade body the BPI. But CD sales fell at a faster rate, plunging by more than a quarter.

Digital albums on sites such as Apple's iTunes tend to sell for less than the physical CD version, which means lower revenues for music companies and artists. The BPI said 7.6 million digital albums and 15.3 million CD versions were sold in the quarter. The total number of albums sold fell 15 per cent to 23 million.