Illegal downloads costing UK music industry £500m

ILLEGAL music downloads are costing the industry £500m a year in the UK, with around twice as many albums downloaded illegally than through legitimate sources such as iTunes, according to industry data out today.

The most in-depth study ever of the digital music industry from <em><a href=""; target="_blank">Musicmetric</a></em> has revealed that around 33m albums and 10m singles were downloaded via torrents – a file sharing technology – in the first six months of 2012.

This is more than twice the 14.7m albums that were downloaded legally during the same period.

Although not all torrent downloads are illegal, Musicmetric said the vast majority were. Taking into account the average prices of digital albums and singles, the estimated cost to the industry was around £274m over the period, and over £500m a year.

The industry has takensteps to crack down on piracy, and recently shut down the popular torrenting website Pirate Bay. However, Musicmetric’s chief executive Gregory Mead said the block had had “little effect” on torrent downloading. “It is also clear, however, that availability of streaming services like Spotify does reduce this activity,”Mead added.