Illegal music downloads on the rise

Music downloads

Efforts to put file sharers off don't appear to be working that well as the volume of illegal music downloads is still rising dramatically, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has confirmed.

The study, carried out by Harris Interactive on behalf of the BPI, showed that although the numbers of peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharers has stayed consistent, illegal downloads through other means have grown considerably.

Harris Interactive conducted the survey online in November 2009, questioning more than 3,000 UK respondents aged between 16 and 54.

The results showed an increase in the use of non-P2P methods during the last six months, with the biggest increases coming from overseas unlicensed MP3 pay sites 47per cent and newsgroups 42 per cent.

There was also a rise of 28 per cent in MP3 search engines and an 18 per cent rise in forum, blog and board links to cyberlockers.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, was disappointed by the results when there are so many websites available now for legal downloading.

"There are now more than thirty-five legal digital music services in the UK, offering music fans a great choice of ways to get music legally," he said in a statement.

"It's disappointing that levels of illegal P2P use remain high despite this and the publicity surrounding imminent measures to address the problem. It's vital that those measures come into force as quickly as possible."

However, it was the considerable non-P2P rise than worried him most.

"The growth in other, non-P2P methods of downloading music illegally is a concern," he added, "and highlights the importance of including a mechanism in the Digital Economy Bill to deal with threats other than P2P."

The survey showed that nearly half of P2P downloaders used the technology on a weekly basis with 31 per cent using it daily for music downloads.

When asked about future usage, most respondents said they were likely to increase it in the coming six months.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.