Feeds

Three-quarters of downloads are illegal – BPI

But nearly 75 per cent of online population are law-abiding

The essential guide to IT transformation

Seventy-six per cent of music downloaded this year was downloaded illegally, the BPI reckons in its annual survey of digital trends. The British record industry group estimates there are 8 million people, or 23 per cent of the UK online population, using P2P software.

That means around two-thirds to three-quarters of people don't indulge in piracy – a figure rarely mentioned in this debate, and a remarkable figure considering the risk of being caught (which are negligible) and potential savings (which are considerable). That means most people are fairly honest, and a considerable amount of money is not being tapped by the legitimate music business.

On the positive side, the BPI highlights a fast-growing digital downloads market, now worth £280m in the UK.

Not every unlicensed download is a lost sale, the BPI acknowledges. It uses a substitution ratio of around a 4.5:1. So although it reckons £984m worth of music was illegally downloaded in the UK, the realistic loss to the music business was £219m, according to Jupiter Research.

Thirteen per cent of P2Pers have stopped downloading illegally.

BPI said: "When ex-P2P users were asked why they had stopped, their answers showed that there were positive reasons for their shift in behaviour. The most popular responses included those which indicate a greater uptake of legal streaming and download services and a belief that artists and songwriters deserve to be paid for their works. Whilst it is heartening to see the effectiveness of legal services in driving some people away from P2P, deterrents are not yet anywhere near having the same impact.

"Proposed measures under the DEA need to make an equal – if not more significant – contribution to influencing P2P users."

Overall, 7 per cent more people use P2P than last year – but the big growth is in use of overseas pay sites (+36 per cent net), MP3 search engines such as BeeMP3 (+28 per cent net) and cyberlockers such as Rapidshare (+15 per cent net).

As I wrote earlier this year, squabbling over substitution numbers can be a distraction from the work at hand – substitution studies don't estimate how much a business sector could grow if it engaged with new technologies. In other words, the amount of money that could be voluntarily extracted from us paying punters via groovy new music services remains unknown. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?