New figures from UK recorded music industry trade body the BPI reveal a strong second quarter for UK music.

UK artists remain popular while digital music sales have driven recovery in the singles market. Newly released figures covering the April-June 2006 quarter shows singles delivering their best results for six years, the BPI said.

BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said: "The British record industry is providing music fans with a great range of new and exciting acts while the expanding digital music market is giving them an enormous choice as to where, when and how they buy their music."
Download formats now account for half of all singles sales, and together, single track downloads and bundles combined to more than compensate for declining physical format sales. 
A total of 16.7 million singles were sold in the second quarter - on an annualised basis the market now stands at 58 million units - its highest level since 2000.
Weekly digital sales are now within sight of the one million mark, with UK music fans downloading 24.3 million tracks already in 2006, just two million short of the entire total for last year (26.4m).
BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said: "Record companies' enthusiastic embrace of new digital formats has helped the single find a new lease of life, and the British singles chart is more exciting than it has been for years."
The second quarter also saw digital albums count towards the chart for the first time, and the format is developing the albums market, with more than 600,000 digital albums sold - almost 2 per cent of the quarterly total. 
The iTunes Live In London release from Richard Ashcroft is mentioned as one of the big-selling albums of the year, and this was only available as a digital exclusive through the Music Store.