Musicmetric just released the first edition of the Digital Music Index, a report claiming to be the most in-depth study ever conducted on the digital music landscape. The DMI looks at a plethora of metrics including the popularity of licensed services like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes as well as how various artists are engaging fans using social networks. But their data related to worldwide BitTorrent usage is getting the most media attention today.
Musicmetric tracked 750,000 artists over a six month span ending in June 2012 and discovered that 405 million releases were downloaded in that time span. Unsurprisingly, the United States topped the list at nearly 97 million downloads. The UK placed second with just over 43 million downloads while Italy, Canada and Brazil rounded out the top five with 33.1 million, 23.9 million and 19.7 million downloads, respectively.
The most popular illegally downloaded album in the world was Rihanna’s Talk that talk. In the US, Drake’s The Motto was downloaded more than any other release. Top honors in the UK go to Ed Sheeran’s Plus while Lauren Pausini’s album Inedito was the biggest hit in Italy. The study found that 78 percent of music torrents globally were of full albums.
Despite what appears to be rampant piracy, digital music revenues of record companies grew by eight percent in 2011 to an estimated $5.2 billion. For reference, 2010’s growth rate was only five percent and this is the first time the year-on-year growth rate has increased since digital revenues were first measured in 2004.