Increased online music sales have led the US to start to include digital music downloads in its main singles chart. Previously online sales appeared in a separate chart.

The UK isn't far behind. A BPI spokesperson told the Evening Standard: "Digital sales will be incorporated into the UK singles chart within the first half of this year. Work is going on across the music business right now to make sure the new chart works to plan."

Legal music downloads overtook CD single sales in the UK at the end of last year. According to the British Phonographic Industry, the last week of December saw download sales of 312,000 compared with 282,000 singles.

As reported in January, the download tally exceeded the previous high by over 20 per cent: it was also 22.3 times larger (2,230 per cent higher) than the 14,000 downloads registered in the first week of January 2004.

This followed a year in which sales of legally downloaded songs increased more than ten times – with more than 200 million tracks bought online in the US and Europe.