More than 10 million downloads have been sold so far this year in Britain – almost double the figure for the whole of 2004.
The figures mark a huge jump from the 5.7 million downloads which were sold during 2004, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
The download market has boomed since the launch of legal sites like iTunes and Napster.
The increase also comes after a number of crackdowns since October last year against illegal file-sharers.
The BPI, which represents British record labels, described the latest figure as a milestone.
It comes after figures showed that tracks legally downloaded outsold physical singles for the first time on the final week of 2004.
BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said: “The record industry has enthusiastically embraced the new legal download services since their emergence in the mainstream little more than a year ago and now we’re beginning to reap the rewards.
“The battle against illegal filesharing will continue, but we are delighted to have hit this milestone so soon.”
Sales of CD singles continued to decline, by 23%, this year, from 5,721,873 between April and June 2004, to 4,408,453, during the same period this year.
But downloads have been credited with saving the single format – total single track sales shot up by 52.4% this year, from 7,246,211 in April to June 2004 to 11.040,075 this year.
There were 659,377 digital single track downloads between April and June last year, and 5,562,638 during the same period this year.
Sales of artist albums increased by 2.2% to 25,137,810 during April to June this year.