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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 06, 2011

Over three-quarters of music downloads in U.K are illegal

Music sales figures for 2010 demonstrate the continued rise in popularity of digital downloads but also reveal legal downloads are unable to offset the decline in CD sales due to illegal competition.

by Helen Leggatt

BPI logo.gifAccording to new figures released by the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), digital albums now account for nearly a fifth (17.5%) of all albums sold. However, while digital album sales grew by 30.6% during 2010, overall album sales decreased by 7%.

Meanwhile, the convenience, value and choice provided by legal download stores meant 98% of single sales were digital with 161.8million sold. According to the BPI, the final week of 2010 saw weekly sales of single tracks downloaded pass 5million for the first time, with 5.2million tracks downloaded in that one week alone.

However, the growth of digital singles and albums is but a fraction of what it ought to be, says BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor, because illegal downloading in the U.K. remains a huge problem.

A recent BPI/Harris Interactive report, Digital Music Nation (.pdf), found over three-quarters (76%) of all music downloads in the U.K. during 2010 were illegal.

"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," said Taylor.

Tags: digital download, music, piracy

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