He may not hold the title of ‘most played Aussie artist on local radio’ anymore, but that doesn’t mean that the endless record-breaking stats for Gotye have ground to a halt.

Following on from a year that saw his scoop three awards in major categories at the 55th Grammy Awards, led by the success of his Kimbra-featuring duet ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, named the highest selling single of 2012, one of the most streamed songs of 2012, and its body-paint video clip became one of the most watched YouTube videos of all time, (currently over 390+ million views), Gotye’s ubiquitous single is now officially one of the world’s most downloaded.

Gotye, or Wally De Backer to his folks, helped usher in a milestone in the UK’s Official Charts Company (OCC) registering the one billionth download of a digital single this week, as The Independent reports, and ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ ranks as the third most downloaded song ever in England, at 1.38 million units.

Topping the list of the country’s most downloaded tracks was their own British singer, Adele, with the OCC’s figures showing that ‘Someone Like You’ is the most downloaded track in the UK, followed by Maroon 5’s Christina Aguilera-featured ‘Moves Like Jagger’ at #2. Sitting behind in the Bronze position is Gotye and Kimbra with their world-conquering single.

Kings of Leon can also lay claim to exceptional digital download figures, with ‘Sex On Fire’ landing at #6, while the rest of the Top 10 was filled out by chart-bothering pop acts like Black Eyed Peas, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Bruno Mars. “The digital music revolution has made it easy to buy any song you like, instantly, for half the price of a coffee.” – Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive

The OCC’s statistics does not include whole albums, such as Gotye’s Making Mirrors for instance, but does include individual track downloads. The figures also reveal that sales of digital singles reach more than 3 million a week.

Since the introduction of a separate sales chart for downloads in the UK in 2004, in response to their growing popularity, with just 5.77 million tracks downloaded the same year, the sales of downloads has grown exponentially;  last year download sales reached a new high of 188.6 million tracks sold, rising 6% from 2011’s

“The explosion in download sales over the past nine years means we are genuinely now living in the digital music age – with Adele as our queen,” said Official Charts Company Managing Director Martin Talbot. “Over the nine years of legitimate digital music, more than 16 new tracks have sold one million copies, which emphasises just how popular digital music is in the modern age,” he added.

The sheer volumes of digital sales also reached a milestone last June, when the BPI reported that digital sales had surpassed physical sales for the first time ever in the first quarter for 2012, and while the IFPI’s recent year-end Record Industry In Numbers report shows that physical sales are still the dominant source of income over digital (at 49% vs 39%), the tide of digital music consumption is clearly turning.

Remarking on the new billion downloads landmark, BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: “The digital music revolution has made it easy to buy any song you like, instantly, for half the price of a coffee. As fans increasingly download music on the move, tablets, smartphones and connected cars will drive another phase in digital music’s expansion.”

Mobile especially has fast become the next battleground for emerging music services, and though the download market is still dominated by Apple’s iTunes, which itself reached 25 billion downloads earlier this year, there are major competitors emerging in on-demand music streaming and paid subscription services.

As demonstrated in a previous NPD Group report on listening habits, much of the increasing popularity of music streaming is thanks to mobile, with a previous survey demonstrating that more than half (56%) of smartphone and tablet users were using their devices to listen to music, with 65% of that figure tuning in to internet radio apps, like Pandora, while a further 30% were employing premium subscription services like Spotify and Deezer.

In fact a recent NPD Group survey showed that in America, streaming music is as popular as traditional radio among people aged under 35, with internet radio service Pandora making up nearly half of that demographic’s listening habits.

So while the UK (and Gotye) may be celebrating the recent 1 billion downloads milestone, perhaps one day it will be an astronomical number of streams or subscribers to Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer that will be cause to pop the champagne.

The UK’s Top 10 most downloaded tracks ever

source: The Official Charts Company

1. Someone Like You – Adele

2. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

3. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye feat. Kimbra

4. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

5. We Found Love – Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris

6. Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon

7. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

8. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO/Lauren Bennett/Goonrock

9. Just The Way You Are (Amazing) – Bruno Mars

10. Price Tag – Jessie J

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