Back in May, we reported that digital music sales had passed the £1bn mark, with albums costing less than half of what they should do based on the price of an album a decade ago. And now news has emerged that UK digital albums sales in 2011 have already surpassed the 2010 figure, with two months to spare.

As Music Week reports, UK music fans have snapped up 21.3 million albums, according to official data released by the BPI.

Earlier this year we reported that 21 by Adele is the UK’s biggest selling digital album of all time, recently overtaking The Fame by Lady Gaga, selling almost twice as many copies. Almost 40 albums have now sold more than 100,000 digital copies in the UK.

Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto is the latest album to notch up over 100,000 downloads. More than 40% of Coldplay’s new album sales came from digital in its first week, but in the music industry on the whole, digital albums have constituted 26.2% of total album sales so far in 2011, rising almost 9% from last year.

“It’s encouraging to see such strong sales in the digital albums market before the Christmas gifting season gets properly underway”, says BPI Chief Executive, Geoff Taylor. “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.”

There’s still time for the 2011 figure to completely blow last year’s download figure out the water, with Taylor going on to note that in the last week of 2010, digital album sales topped a record 800,000. “This year we may see the 1 million weekly sales barrier broken for the first time, despite the adverse impact of illegal sites and tough economic conditions”, continued Taylor.

So, on the surface at least, music sales are looking healthier, with more and more legal avenues opening for fans to buy digital music. A few weeks back, we reported that BT had been given an ultimatum to start blocking users’ access to Newzbin 2, a UK Usenet indexing website which is well known as an aggregator of illegally copied content found on Usenet forums. This is being viewed as a landmark ruling that could lead to further blocks implemented to prevent access to pirated material on other websites and with other Internet Service Providers.