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UK record industry posts first growth in 4 years

Jessica Morris, special to

Sales for the U.K.'s recorded music industry rose for the first time in four years in 2013, bolstered by the increasing popularity of digital music services, according to BPI, which represents the country's record music industry.

Sales rose by 1.9 percentto £730.4 million ($1.2 billion) last year,up from £716.8 million in 2012. Surging digital sales sparked the uptick, with digital revenues accounting for 50 percent of total U.K. recordindustry revenue.

(Read more: Online music: Recording industry embraces streaming)

Photographer | Collection | Getty Images

"Rapid growth from digital albums and music streaming services such as Spotify powered a rebound in revenues in 2013," said Geoff Taylor, the chief executive of BPI, in a statement.

Digital revenues rose by over 10percent on the back of digital album sales and streaming. Streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer were the fastest growing sector, posting a 41 percent increase in revenues over the 12 month period.

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However, the strong digital sales were set against a backdrop of declining physical sales. Revenues from the sale of CDalbums, singles and music singles fell by 6.5percent to £365.4 million.

And it seems Beyonce's shock release of her new album straight onto, and exclusively for, digital platforms was prescient. Revenues fromdownload albums grew nearly 20 percent in2013, partly boosted by sales from compilations and 'premium' or 'deluxe' album editions.

(Read more: Beyonce's new album: What it tells us about the music industry)

The figures highlighted the music industry's increased willingness to embrace the internet.

"The U.K.'s record labels have reimagined their business for a world of instant mobile, global access to music, driven by social media," said Taylor. "With digital increasingly becoming its key source of revenue, Britain's music industry is fit and ready to seize the global opportunities it offers."

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