July 21, 2005 10:06 AM PDT

Legal music downloads triple worldwide

Legal digital song downloads around the world have tripled in the past year, while the growth of music piracy on peer-to-peer networks appears to have slowed, according to record labels.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said Thursday that 180 million songs had been sold worldwide through services such as Apple Computer's iTunes in the first half of 2005, up from about 57 million in the same period last year.

The group does not measure actual downloads from peer-to-peer networks, but said the number of songs available on file-swapping services and pirate Web sites rose just 3 percent in the first half of 2005, from 870 million tracks to 900 million tracks.

Label executives said that the deterrent effect of lawsuits against individual file swappers is beginning to be felt around the world.

"We are now seeing real evidence that people are increasingly put off by illegal file sharing and turning to legal ways of enjoying music online," IFPI Chief Executive Officer John Kennedy said in a statement. "Attitudes are changing, and that is good news for the whole music industry."

Much of the growth in the market has come as services such as iTunes have entered the European market, expanding the rate of growth beyond the United States. Although a handful of download services were available in the United Kingdom, iTunes' European opening in June 2004 substantially increased the rates of sales.

IFPI also said that digital music subscriptions were growing fast, with 2.2 million people worldwide subscribed to a monthly music plan by the middle of 2005. That's up from an estimated 1.5 million people in January of this year.

The group noted that 14,227 lawsuits have been announced against file swappers in 12 countries since the Recording Industry Association of America first began its campaign in September 2003. The majority of these suits have been against city-dwelling men between the ages of 20 and 35, the group said.

Earlier this week, Apple said it had sold more than 500 million songs since first launching its iTunes store in early 2003.

5 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Lets consider the source.
I am sure their is more than a little bias in these numbers. It's really hard to get an acurate picture of P2P growth because of it's distributed nature. BitTorrent especially is hard to track (yet it would seem to account for a third of all internet traffic). I'd like to see data that attributes this alleged decline to lawsuits. When compared to number of people who use P2P, the number of lawsuits in minuscule. The chance that a given individual will be sued is remote.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
??
One report says "legal downloads" are up...another says music sales are down...another says sales are up...another says "piracy" has increased...another say it has decreased. Hey music business, whatever you got to say to make yourselves feel good is fine with me...and whatever I have to do to keep money in my pocket is fine with me also. I will admit I don't download music like I once did...but thats because it's all similar sounding garbage. Even at a free rate music isn't appealing. The movie industry is noticing the same thing...but let the movie industry explain it and they'll blame "piracy" just like the music industry. They'll never consider the public just doesn't want the junk. I guess they say "we have trained the american public to be nothing but consumers so how can they resist buying our product....the only explanation is they must be stealing."
Posted by Darryl Snortberry (96 comments )
Link Flag
I Agree..
Yeah, this article is a load of rubbish to be honest. It's comparing 3 month figures (illegal sharing) to 12 month figures (legal). If you do the maths, you will notice that the legal sharing has had 123million track downloads in 12 months and illegal sharing has increased by 30million in 3 months. If you multiply 30 million (3 months) by 4 you get 120million, this is an accurate figure for the amount of tracks illegally aquired in 12 months by users. This is just the same as legal use, which just shows that the article is infact twisting the figures to make it look good for legal sharing when infact they are just the same. Also, you gotta add about 10 million onto 120million track for the illegal downloads because it has slowed down a bit in the last few months. As the person above me said, ways like Bit Torrent to get albums etc aren't easily tracked and won't have been included. This is a poor article.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
due to lawsuits
these guys kill me. it was asserted by programmers even before napster got crucified (and was resurrected as a shadow of its former self) that the problem with illegal downloads was behavior oriented but that that behavior could be re-programmed, hacked even with fast and easy downloading available online. (and cheaper as well; as in closer to a non-rip-off profit margin; and when music downloads cut out the (retrograde?) middle mans of cd pressing, warehouse storage, transportation and trucking (truckers, yes, they have a union), storefront costs including pay and benefits etc., (and when the lowering of pressing costs went from 2bucks for vinyl to 50cents for cd just where was this non-rip-off mindset anyway? "lost in the 80s") just what is that new non-rip off profit margin? Now? is it 99cents a song? because with 15 songs, thats the same price as a CD with all the middle men un-cut-out) Me? I like e-music, the price of 20-25 cents a song just sounds sexy to me, and i like. also, they have songs in mp3 form, no need to go through the easy but irritating process of converting downloaded songs to mp3 like i have to do when i use itunes. I aint got-ta and i aint gone-ta have five different music formats in my massive song folder so i cant figure out why my favorite song by flavor of last year's band won't burn on the software i just bought or got off of open source today. BUT I DOWNLOAD LEGALLY BECAUSE FINALLY SOMEONE IS NOT TREATING ME LIKE A FOOL, TRYING TO PIMP ME. Wise up, music industry and stop treating the customer like a mark. And stop fooling yourself. Especially with the new Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for your suit-happy intellectual property "suits" to sue the hell out of the internet businesses. Suing the customer was clumsy, dumb, and just bad mojo. Surely you can at least admit that now, and stop lying to yourself and us, acting as desparate as a private on shore leave talking to a virgin in a one woman town. It's embarrasing. To whit, the programmers are right, and your lawsuits, uh, sucked. Whew. Glad I finally got that off my chest. It was like an incubus, or an entertainment company strategy, thrashing to mr. brownstone, or something.
Posted by w8less (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
idiots ... music stores are closing down .... only place I see music CDs is in department stores and food stores ... just goes to show you ... that people who download there own songs ... do so ... to make up their own music compilations .... horrible buying mixed compilation CDs and you only like 3 songs out of the 20 on there.... whatever the download .... legal or not ... just goes to show you .... that if music industry wants illegal downloads to stop ... should be suing there own stupid selves for not keeping up with internet industry .... Boo Yah!!!
Posted by MeepIsTheWord (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.