UK consumers downloaded nearly 50 per cent more music tracks in 2007, helped by a end-of-year surge in iPod sales.

Almost 78 million tracked were bought online in 2007, according to the British Phonographic Industry, compared with 52.5 million last year.

Nearly 3 million tracks were purchased between Christmas and the New Year, double last year’s number.

However, the 47.7 per cent increase was set against a 10 per cent decline in sales of physical CDs, sending a further warning to high street entertainment retailers to whip their online operations into shape.