New record for illegal music downloads: 1.2 billion in 2010

By on December 16, 2010, 3:30 PM
The UK recording industry group BPI has released Digital Music Nation 2010, a new 39-page report with research from both Harris Interactive and UKOM/Nielsen that provides a comprehensive picture of the legal and illegal digital music landscape in the UK. While the UK's digital music market continues to expand, the report says, record levels of illegal downloading present a serious threat to the country's online music future.

Harris conservatively estimates that 1.2 billion tracks will be illegally downloaded in 2010, which is equivalent to a stack of CDs some 74 miles high. When compared to BPI's prediction of 370 million tracks in total across singles and albums bought legally by the end of this year, it appears that illegal downloads represent three quarters of all music obtained digitally.

The UK now boasts 67 legal digital music services, spanning streaming, à la carte, subscription, bundled, and mobile offerings. Britain is believed to have the most options for legal digital music in the world, offering more options than Germany (42), Spain (29), France (27), Italy (27), and the US (20). Nevertheless, the total number of people in the UK illegally downloading music on a regular basis is 7.7 million, and could be even larger given other methods by which music can be illegally obtained, such as e-mail, instant messaging, and newsgroups.

"Digital music is now mainstream in the UK, with much to be proud of – nearly 70 legal services and a further increase in the numbers of digital singles and albums set to be sold online in 2010," Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, said in a statement. "Yet this growth is a fraction of what it ought to be. Illegal downloading continues to rise in the UK. It is a parasite that threatens to deprive a generation of talented young people of their chance to make a career in music, and is holding back investment in the fledgling digital entertainment sector."





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Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's just so simple and safe to click "download" on an illegal music file. This is just going to go on and on untill a way is found to either find and shut down websites or file sharing networks (never going to happen really) or get really harsh on people who download illegal music (probably never going to happen).

I can't see how the law or music companys can win with this really...Unless they shut down the internet worldwide (yeah right!)

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I didn't see any mention of EMI distributing their music illegally.

[link]

That would skew the numbers significantly.

motrin said:

music needs to be able to be purchases easily and cheaply! possibly less than .99 cents per song.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I can understand the arguments for copyright. I can understand why we should pay for digital downloads. But its comments like this that really bother me:

"Yet this growth is a fraction of what it ought to be. Illegal downloading continues to rise in the UK. It is a parasite that threatens to deprive a generation of talented young people of their chance to make a career in music, and is holding back investment in the fledgling digital entertainment sector."

It's complete bullsh*t. The record industry posts profits in the hundred millions to billions each year. Can you seriously expect anyone to believe that you can't fund fledgling artists with that kind of bank roll?

Tell me that you want your companies profits to exceed the GDP of third world nations, tell me that you want to hand out private jets as bonuses to your staff this year, tell me that you want to rape every last dollar from Joe Blow consumer. But please don't make up obvious lies to try and gain some sort of sympathy. No one feels bad for you.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ah, not this again...

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's complete bullsh*t. The record industry posts profits in the hundred millions to billions each year. Can you seriously expect anyone to believe that you can't fund fledgling artists with that kind of bank roll?

Tell me that you want your companies profits to exceed the GDP of third world nations, tell me that you want to hand out private jets as bonuses to your staff this year, tell me that you want to rape every last dollar from Joe Blow consumer. But please don't make up obvious lies to try and gain some sort of sympathy. No one feels bad for you.

I'll agree with that....It's obviously a drop in the ocean for what they're making and i just can't see the tiny leak turning into a torrent any time soon frankly (pun intended lol). I think if a president or a prime minister came out speaking this though, i'm not sure he would last very long.

I think most "normal" people have to think what you say because quite simply.....It's true.

Guest said:

Even if it was 99c a song at 12 bucks an album people still won't pay for it because the album is probably crap and only 1 or 2 songs are even worth listening to. Before people downloaded music on the internet chances are they only bought 2 albums a year and than listened to the rest on radio or not at all. record labels are kidding themselves if they think 100% of downloads would of equated to 100% of sales. No way people would of legally paid for 1000's of songs that they have on there i pods if they had to fork out the money.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Guest said:

Even if it was 99c a song at 12 bucks an album people still won't pay for it because the album is probably crap and only 1 or 2 songs are even worth listening to. Before people downloaded music on the internet chances are they only bought 2 albums a year and than listened to the rest on radio or not at all. record labels are kidding themselves if they think 100% of downloads would of equated to 100% of sales. No way people would of legally paid for 1000's of songs that they have on there i pods if they had to fork out the money.

Yeah, but this is the age-old argument, which fails. Stealing is still stealing. I mean, I can't afford a Bugatti, and even then it's hella-overpriced, so I'll just steal one..

Guest said:

...or perhaps artists can go back to making money the old fashion way, before the invention of recorded music, and soulless record companies and executives can just get out of the way of the intimate connection between artists and fans...

aj_the_kidd said:

It is a parasite that threatens to deprive a generation of talented young people of their chance to make a career in music

Even before piracy became a big issue, not every talent person made it period. I admit its allot harder for new artist to make a career (they will have to settle with G5 rather then a G6 :P) but they need to understand this is how the industry is and its not going to change anytime soon, if they cant handle that then pick a different career.

cardriverx said:

Oh for Christ sake st1ckm4n, I have herd a response like yours in every article about torrents. And guess what? A comparison like that STILL MAKES NO SEANCE.

It does NOT cost anyone money to put more copys of a song in a online music service because there is nothing physical about it. Digital music is not made out of some material that cost the company per song. Guess what? A car costs the company material and manufacturing.

The right example would be if you could not afford a Porsche, so instead you make an exact copy of a Porsche (all the manufacturing costs on you), and drove it instead.

Timonius Timonius said:

It's interesting the concept of 'pirating' music since now there are very practical ways of 'measuring' it. I remember back in the day when *gasp* if I wanted a song I would record it off the radio (is that piracy even if it isn't a 'perfect' copy of the song?). Good luck with the debate.

IAMTHESTIG said:

Yeah the recording industry is ran by marketing morons... they could learn to embrace technology, but instead they are dragged into it kicking and screaming the whole way. There also seems to be this common notion that illegal copying of music is something new, but it isn't. Since the days of magnetically stored media (i.e. tapes) music has been copied over and over, and over... There was just no way for them to track it, and now that music copying is being done via the internet, they can track it and see what is really happening.

So what is the solution? Well you can't 100% prevent illegal copying and distribution, however you can discourage it greatly. But first you have to ask why do people download free music? Well... one, it's free! On top of this, it is EASY and there are no restrictions to what you do with that media. This level of freedom is what people want! Now amazon.com and a few others have the right idea of selling DRM-free mp3's. I absolutely love and support this, and buy many mp3s off amazon.com. But the second part of this, is cost. 99 cents, for most people and the amount of music they want to obtain, is too expensive.

I can almost guarantee you if prices dropped to 19, 29, and 39 cents for DRM-free mp3s, they would start selling like hot cakes! I bet it would take a large chunk out of illegal downloading. On top if this advertising needs to be done by these online distributors, explaining their mp3s are DRM free and what that means... because a good portion of illegal music downloading is done because people don't know you can legally purchase DRM-free mp3s.

Again it wont 100% eliminate "pirating", but it will have a big impact.... the recording industry would probably make MORE money by dropping the pricing to the point where online distributors could sell songs for under 50 cents each just because of the sheer increase of people jumping on board. Seriously... 20 cents a song, plus DRM-free mp3s, plus advertising... probably equals a ten-fold increase in sales. But alas, greed drives those in control of the industry, and this is something they don't agree with, nor are they likely to give it a fighting chance.

Guest said:

To The World Recording Industry: Welcome to the Internet era !

;)

jetkami said:

I would never pirate any music again if albums legally downloaded where less then $5.00. I am not giving you $12 when you dont have any overhead except paying some poor server admin 28k a year to keep your servers up. Pizza (5 dollars) Subway (5 dollars) matinée movie (5 dollars) keep my girlfriends kid from coming out of his room and interrupting my naughty plans with his mother (ok 10 but hell thats worth it).

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

PanicX said:

I can understand the arguments for copyright. I can understand why we should pay for digital downloads. But its comments like this that really bother me:

"Yet this growth is a fraction of what it ought to be. Illegal downloading continues to rise in the UK. It is a parasite that threatens to deprive a generation of talented young people of their chance to make a career in music, and is holding back investment in the fledgling digital entertainment sector."

It's complete bullsh*t. The record industry posts profits in the hundred millions to billions each year. Can you seriously expect anyone to believe that you can't fund fledgling artists with that kind of bank roll?

Tell me that you want your companies profits to exceed the GDP of third world nations, tell me that you want to hand out private jets as bonuses to your staff this year, tell me that you want to rape every last dollar from Joe Blow consumer. But please don't make up obvious lies to try and gain some sort of sympathy. No one feels bad for you.

Let's not forget that the big artists have to be able to buy their matching solid gold toilet and bathtubs in all 15 bathrooms of their mansions that are so big they qualify for their own zip code... It's not just the media companies that are milking out the consumers (but they are definitely the ones who have set their own bar for profits and gains). Sure, gifted singers or performers deserve to be compensated for entertaining us, but the amount of excess thrown on them (even those of questionable talent) is absolutely appalling.

Guest said:

As a former employee of an independent record store (if you can still call them "record" stores) I can tell you that artists usually make $1-2 per album, if they're lucky! The real revenue comes from touring and merchandise. Of course, more established artists have more leverage when negotiating contracts, and make much more per album sold. The point being, most musicians are in it for the love of music, not $$$. The labels on the other hand . . .

windmill007 said:

Make it .10 a song...Yes cents... anymore than that you are not gonna convert any pirates...sry

lchu12 lchu12 said:

windmill007 said:

Make it .10 a song...Yes cents... anymore than that you are not gonna convert any pirates...sry

Not gonna work, cause we'll soon demand it to be .01 cents per song.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

A Penny for Your Thoughts........?

Well, the recording industry certainly is trying to paint themselves as the victims. And in a sense, I suppose they are. But, the sensationalism contained in the "1.2 billion illegal downloads" nonsense is simply hogwash.

I suspect that a great number of those downloads are people downloading because they can, and the music won't be heard from or shared again.

Most of it is probably rubbish, the other 11 cuts on the album that nobody can stand, and music which certainly wouldn't be bought, if it could at all be avoided.

As far as "young people not having a shot at a career in music" because of illegal downloading, let me say this. Every garage band isn't the Beatles anyway. Most of those trying to break into the music won't make it because they don't have any real talent. And second, the recording industry considers the s*** "product", which sort of illustrates how they themselves feel about it.

Guest said:

great article on the same by Damian Kulash of OK Go fame

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870372780457601
592259031536.html

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

Benny26 said:

It's just so simple and safe to click "download" on an illegal music file. This is just going to go on and on untill a way is found to either find and shut down websites or file sharing networks (never going to happen really) or get really harsh on people who download illegal music (probably never going to happen).

I can't see how the law or music companys can win with this really...Unless they shut down the internet worldwide (yeah right!)

^^ Agreed, although it is getting safer and safer for people to download illegal music. As Big-Name softwares such as Frostwire, uTorrent, Bittorent, and the recently deceased Limewire, they are including Anti-Virus protection. This is helping increase the amount of downloads as well.

foxrox foxrox said:

Benny26 said:

It's just so simple and safe to click "download" on an illegal music file. This is just going to go on and on untill a way is found to either find and shut down websites or file sharing networks (never going to happen really) or get really harsh on people who download illegal music (probably never going to happen).

I can't see how the law or music companys can win with this really...Unless they shut down the internet worldwide (yeah right!)

Are you sure about that? The Nazis are already heading that way.

[link]

foxrox foxrox said:

And another link...

[link]

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Are you sure about that? The Nazis are already heading that way.

[link]

Nah, they can slap whatever the hell they want on the internet...There's always going to be a way round it.

Not even the United Nations could make a dent if they tried...Mind yu, the UN would have trouble fighting their way out of a paper bag.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

These statistics are about as accurate as any other number someone can dream up. I'd like to propose that only half that many songs were pirated. My guess is neither number is that accurate or really matters.

In other music news:

In 2010 the BPI reports that there were 281.7 million units sold, which is an all-time record. Never in the history of recorded music have so many pieces of music been sold, but you wont hear the music industry shouting about that. In fact, the music industry is selling more music year after year and today's figure is up 27% compared to the 221.6 million copies sold in 2006.

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