The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has said that legal downloads have risen tenfold during the past year, with music fans in the United States and Europe downloading more than 200m tracks during 2004, up from about 20m over the previous year. This is a sign, they say, that piracy is being eroded.
After being caught out in the late 1990s by the rapid rise in online piracy, record executives said the tide had turned during the last year through a combination of legal action against pirates and the widespread availability of around a million tracks through legal services such as Napster and Apple's iTunes Music Store.
This is just the beginning, with the music industry continuing to push digital music online. But they will also be keeping up the legal pressure, both on individual file sharers and the companies behind the peer to peer software.