The week after Christmas saw music download sales spike on both sides of the Atlantic.

Macworld last week confirmed that UK downloads exceeded one million in the week after Christmas 2005. The pattern is clear also in the US, where Billboard reports music services also saw massive traffic, with almost 20 million tracks sold that week.

This activity is widely believed to have been boosted by the sheer number of iPods (and other music players) found under the Christmas tree this year.

It's a phenomenal spike: before that week the record download traffic in the US (population 295 million) was 9.5 million.

This means sales were almost three times the average, with some fifteen popular songs experiencing more download sales each in that week surpassing the one-week record for sales of a single track.

352 million digital downloads sold in 2005, 147 per cent more than 2004's 142.6 million sales.

The news emerges as researchers at the NPD Group recently confirmed that MP3 player sales now exceed CD player sales in the US.