The purchase of digital music continued to grow in 2013, ending the year with sales up 4.3 percent in stark contrast to the 12-percent drop in physical formats, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

In its annual report, presented Tuesday at a press conference in London, the IFPI attributes the surge in digital sales to consumers' growing interest in streaming services.

Worldwide digital sales totaled $5.9 billion in 2013, up 4.3 percent over 2012.

As for revenues from streaming, they crossed the $1 billion threshold for the first time ever in 2013, an increase of 51.3 percent compared with 2012.

"The global recording industry is in a positive phase of its development," IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said. "Revenues in most major markets have returned to growth."

"Streaming and subscription services are thriving ... And digital music is moving into a clearly identifiable new phase as record companies, having licensed services across the world, now start to tap the enormous potential of emerging markets," she said.

The IFPI report also noted that recorded music in all formats reached an industry volume of some $15 billion, 3.9 percent less than in 2012 due to the specific case of Japan, which represents more than a fifth of global revenues and which in 2013 plunged 16.7 percent. EFE