Digital music sales are heading past 25 million (so far) for 2005 and unsurprising really when, according to UK research company Canalys, the number of portable digital players will have doubled during this year. 25.6 million portable music players were sold globally in the first half of 2005, compared to the 28.3 million sold in the whole of 2004. Apple is the main man of the market with 45% of all units sold, followed by Creative 16% and Rio 7.1%.

The arrival of the iPod Nano, new video iPods and expansion of iTunes to include TV and music video sales is likely to fuel the market yet further. Stand by, the blue touch paper has been lit.

Here’s some research from the IDC. It simply states that “the portable compressed audio (MP3) player market continues to surge, led by the portable flash player category which is expected to grow from 26.4 million units shipped worldwide in 2004 to nearly 124 million units in 2009 … music-enabled mobile phones are expected to inhibit the portable MP3 player market somewhat during the forecast period and the extent of this trend will vary by world region.” Additionally, Flash memory capacity is expected to reach 16Gb by 2007.