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Free Music - 95% of Music Downloads Are Illegal

Whilst the online music industry may be booming, 95% of downloads are still illegal free music downloads that are not paid for.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's (IFPI) Digital Music Report, profiting from online music is still "the biggest challenge for music companies" right now.

The report states that the online music business has now grown for six consecutive years, increasing by 25% in 2008 alone and is now worth $37 billion (£25 billion).

20% of all recorded music sales are now online music sales, an increase from the 2007 figure of 15%. However, this music industry success is insignificant when compared to the popularity of illegal free music downloads.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) estimate that in 2008 more than 40 billion free music files were shared illegally. In comparison, there were 1.4 billion single track downloads made legally of which ‘Lollipop’ by Lil Wayne was the top seller, shifting more than 9 million units.

Online Music up 45%

One of the largest increases in online music sales for the first half of 2008 was the United Kingdom with sales up by 45%. In 2008, music lovers in the UK downloaded 110 million single tracks and more than 10 million digital albums – almost 8% of the album market in the UK.

Chairman and chief executive of the IFPI, John Kennedy, said: "The recorded music industry is reinventing itself and its business models. Music companies have changed their whole approach to doing business, reshaped their operations and responded to the dramatic transformation in the way music is distributed and consumed.”

"There is a momentous debate going on about the environment on which our business, and all the people working in it, depends. Governments are beginning to accept that, in the debate over 'free content' and engaging ISPs in protecting intellectual property rights, doing nothing is not an option if there is to be a future for commercial digital content."

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© January 2009

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