Legal downloads of music in Japan continued to grow in the third quarter of the year although that growth appears to be slowing.

The total number of downloads was 91.9 million during the July to September quarter, according to figures published by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) on Tuesday. That's 23 per cent higher than the same period last year but only 2 per cent above the second quarter of this year.

Music obtained by mobile phone, which includes full tracks, ringtones and ringback tones, still dominates the Japanese market and accounted for the vast majority of downloads.

The number of downloads from internet sites, like iTunes and the Sony-affiliated Mora site, totalled 5.7 million during the quarter, which is an increase on the same period last year but a drop from this year's second quarter. The number of internet downloads has been little changed for each of the last three quarters.

For the first time the RIAJ broke down the internet download figures by type of download. Of the 5.7 million downloads in the third quarter about 5.4 million downloads were of singles. There were 260,000 downloads of albums and 86,000 downloads of other paid content, which was mainly music videos.

By value, internet downloads were worth a total of ¥1.2 billion during the quarter while those downloaded through mobile platforms were worth about ten times as much at ¥12.4 billion.