Despite the rise of online digital-music download services such as Apple’s iTunes, it appears that many of us are sticking with the antiquated CD format.

According to figures for international CD sales produced by the IFPI UK music fans are top of the world CD buying charts for the fourth year in a row.

Billboard reports that the UK foot-tapper shells out for an average of 2.7 discs per head, beating the US and Norway who were joint second with recorded sales of 2.1 discs per head.

The rest of the top ten CD-buying countries are: Ireland and Australia (1.9), Denmark (1.8), Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland (1.7) with Japan, New Zealand and Canada all at 1.5 discs per head.

"The rise of downloading in the singles market may have captured the headlines over the past couple of years, but when it comes to albums, UK music fans still overwhelmingly prefer the convenience and flexibility of physical formats," said Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) director general Kim Bayley. "Digital still accounts for less than one twelfth of the UK music market."

“While many of our members are investing in digital operations, we also believe that physical stores will continue to be an important part of the music fan's experience," she added. "A strong and diverse retail infrastructure has been key to the health of the UK music market. It means that music is more accessible in the UK than in virtually any other country in the world."

I agree that CDs offer far greater flexibility than iTunes downloads, but I’m not so sure that they’re more convenient. I still have to rip that CD to iTunes so I can play it on my iPod.

I still buy more CDs than I do download tracks and albums from iTunes.


Cost, of course.

While albums are priced at £7.99 at the iTunes Store, Amazon offers them for just 50p or £1 more on CD. I get to rip the music at a higher-quality compression rate and can flog the disc on eBay if I end up not liking it.

If Apple reduced its download prices to, say, £5.99 then you can be sure that many like me will soon stop our addiction to polycarbonate.