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Over a quarter of web users engage in music piracy, makes music industry sad

Despite the explosion in the availability of music through digital stores and subscription services, a new report indicates that music piracy doesn’t appear to be going out of fashion any time soon, with at least one in four web users around the world illegally downloading or streaming music every month.

The report was published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents over 1400 music labels in 66 countries. It tells a predictably bleak tale in framing this information, emphasising that the poor, impoverished music industry is being critically undermined by the actions of a selfish minority of web users, adding that the prevalence of illegal downloads is “jeopardising investment in music” and “rigging the market for legitimate music services”.

Of course, this sob story is undermined slightly by IFPI’s own statistics that record industry revenues grew at a faster rate last year than in 2010, up around 8% to $5.2bn USD. Legitimate downloads of individual tracks increased by 11%, while album downloads were up by 24%. Try to hold back the tears for those struggling record labels, when you hear that the number of users subscribing to a digital music service increased by 65% last year across the globe. Heart-breaking.

With just 32% of worldwide music revenues coming from digital sales, it’s not hard to understand why industry organisations like IFPI believe that music pirates are such a scourge. In a nutshell, things are growing, but they’re not growing as fast as the industry would like. But consider the fact that some labels and artists continue to resist cooperation with music subscription services such as Spotify and Zune, which offer unlimited music each month for the price of one album; this is an industry which would much prefer to limit your options to buying one album at a time.

It’s not encouraging to see organisations like IFPI continue to point the finger at illegal downloaders, instead of mobilising to innovate and offer greater incentives to make legal music consumption more attractive, which would ultimately lead to a larger and more successful music industry in the longer term.

via The Telegraph

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