Digital downloads break last year's record in November

Chris Martin from Coldplay

Sales of digital albums have broken last year's record with 21.3 million copies downloaded so far in 2011.

The news follows the success of Coldplay's release, Mylo Xyloto, which broke the record for digital sales in its first week of release with 80,000.

Digital albums now represent more than a quarter (26.2%) of total album sales, up from 17.5% last year.

Lady Gaga, Jessie J and Ed Sheeran are among the artists to have sold more than 100,000 digital copies in 2011.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, the trade association of the UK's recorded music industry, said: "It's encouraging to see such strong sales in the digital albums market before the Christmas gifting season gets properly under way.

"For the last five consecutive years, the final week of the year has been the biggest in terms of digital album sales, as consumers spend digital music gift vouchers received at Christmas and try out legal digital music services on their new iPods, tablets and laptops.

"In the last week of 2010 digital album sales topped a record 800,000.

"This year we may see the one million weekly sales barrier broken for the first time, despite the adverse impact of illegal sites and tough economic conditions."

The latest figures were released by the Official Charts Company.