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2009 UK Music Single Sales Break Records Despite ISP Piracy Fears

Posted: 28th Oct, 2009 By: MarkJ
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), a trade association for the British record industry, has reported a record breaking year for UK singles with more than 117m sold to date (115.1m in 2008). Legal digital downloads via broadband ISPs are the primary reason and have rapidly overtaken sales of CD singles.

This might lead some to wonder why all the fuss over illegal P2P file sharing? If the statistics are to be believed then surely it should be having a much more negative impact on music sales. Not so claims the BPI, which is always happy to spout a few random statistics.

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive said:

“We’ve witnessed an astonishing transformation of the UK singles market during the last six years, with digital downloads rapidly overtaking sales of CD singles and cassettes to dominate the singles scene.

That singles have hit these heights while there are still more than a billion illegal downloads every year in the UK is testimony to the quality of releases this year and the vibrancy of the UK download market.

Consumers are responding to the value and innovation offered by the legal services and these new figures show how the market could explode if Government acts to tackle illegal peer-to-peer filesharing.”

Perhaps it is actually testimony to the fact that illegal downloads do not have the same level of market impact as the statistics might suggest. It is a common misconception to assume that every illegally downloaded track results in a lost sale, which ignores that fact that somebody who downloads 1000 singles might have only ever brought just a handful.

Speaking of which, the Government's business secretary, Peter Mandelson, will today outline precisely what the government is going to do in order to combat online piracy. We fear that disconnection will still be on the cards; regardless of how much opposition it has received.
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