THE rise of downloads and streaming means digital music now accounts for half of record industry income in the UK for the first time.

Digital revenue overall increased 11.9% on the back of strong album downloads, and streaming income rose 41% in 2013, a report by music industry body the BPI has found.

It meant the UK music industry saw a 1.9% increase in its income - the first growth in four years for the recorded music industry - which stood at £730.4 million last year. This was up from £716.8m in 2012.

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Revenue from sales of CDs and music videos continued to decline - dropping 6.4% to stand at £365.4m - but was offset by digital formats.

Hit albums such as Bastille's debut Bad Blood, the biggest selling digital artist album of 2013, helped the income from download albums to grow by 19.5%.

Sales of download singles slipped 4.4%, but the rise of streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer offset any drop and represented the fastest growing area. Revenues grew 41% and generated £77m for record firms.

Digital income accounted for a milestone 50% UK record industry sales revenue. The figures take account only of the record industry income from digital and physical music and strip out sums for VAT and the add-ons for retail.

Tony Wadsworth, the BPI chairman, said: "After over a decade of digital transformation we are now seeing the transition of the recorded music business reach a significant milestone and a return to revenue growth.

"This was only going to happen if we give the consumer what they want, and the continual support given by artists and labels to new ways of enjoying music means music fans can enjoy more choice and better value than at any time in history."