Friday, 16 January 2009

Ninety-Five per cent of Music Downloads, Illegal

A report out today by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has said that ninety-five per cent of music downloaded online is illegal.

The global music trade body said this is its biggest challenge as artists and producers are missing out on payments. IFPI Digital Music Report calls for ISP cooperation to become a reality in 2009.

Internationally, the digital music business saw a sixth year of expansion in 2008 with an estimated growth of 25% and is now worth $3.7bn (£2.5bn) since last year with downloads now accounting for a fifth of all recorded music sales.

In spite of these developments, the music sector is still overshadowed by the huge amount of unlicensed music distributed online. The IFPI, which represents 1,400 companies in 72 countries, estimated more than 40 billion music files were illegally shared in 2008, giving a piracy rate of around 95 per cent.

Single track downloads were up 24 per cent in 2008 to 1.4 billion, with the top-selling digital single, Lil Wayne's Lollipop, selling 9.1 million copies.

2008 saw UK music fans download 110 million single tracks and 10.3 million digital albums, accounting for 7.7% of the market.

Chairman and chief executive of IFPI, John Kennedy said the industry had changed its approach to doing business.

He said: "There is a momentous debate going on about the environment on which our business, and all the people working in it, depends. Governments are beginning to accept that, in the debate over "free content" and engaging ISPs in protecting intellectual property rights, doing nothing is not an option if there is to be a future for commercial digital content."

Executive director of the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock said: "We are worried by the recording industry's desire to clamp down on illicit file sharers.

"We need to see how much better these companies do by getting their services right before governments start pushing drastic and draconian laws forward."

He added: "Growing online sales show the recording industry can win against illicit file sharing.

"If companies go further and offer the same sort of experience as P2P then they will win new revenues, and reduce copyright infringement, which we would welcome."

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