A glimpse at piracy in the UK and beyond

 
Ed Sheeran performing at V Festival Ed Sheeran topped the list of most pirated UK artist for the first half of 2012

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Manchester has been named the piracy capital of the UK, according to a new study seen exclusively by the BBC.

The research said there were more illegal downloads per person in the city than any other in the country, followed by Nottingham and Southampton.

The statistics, from monitoring service Musicmetric, conclude that in the first half of 2012, UK users illegally shared over 40 million albums and singles.

Industry group, the BPI said it showed piracy "remains a significant problem".

The data, collected independently by Musicmetric and seen exclusively by the BBC, is believed to be the biggest analysis of its kind to be conducted.

It monitored the global activity of BitTorrent files - a method of obtaining files by downloading from many users at the same time.

The data's release came as measures to attempt to curb illegal downloading began to take hold, such as the blocking of popular piracy websites and the relegation and removal of search results from Google.

Musicmetric's findings said that singer Ed Sheeran was the most pirated act in the UK for the first half of 2012, followed by hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks and Barbadian megastar Rihanna.

The data suggested that Ed Sheeran's 2011 album + (Plus) was illegally downloaded an average of 55,512 times every month, and was the most popular download in over 460 towns and cities in the UK.

Legal UK sales of his album in the first half of 2012 hit the 448,000 mark - making it the fourth most popular album behind releases from Adele, Emeli Sande and Lana Del Rey.

Download nation

Globally, the research suggested that the UK is a significant player on the world stage as a country of illegal music downloaders.

The country was placed second in the world in terms of pure volume of illegal activity, with Musicmetric logging 43,263,582 downloads in the first six months of this year.

The US topped the list, with 96,681,133 downloads tracked in the same period.

Italy (33,158,943), Canada (23,959,924) and Brazil (19,724,522) made up the remainder of the top five.

Rihanna's latest album - Talk That Talk - was found to be the world's most pirated release - Musicmetric tracked 1,228,313 downloads for the title in the first half of 2012.

In its analysis of the UK's data, Musicmetric has estimated that 345 million individual tracks made up the torrent files downloaded by British music fans.

According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK's music industry body, the figures were having a "significant effect on investment in new music".

Start Quote

It's adapt or die in the music industry”

End Quote Rizzle Kicks

"According to their data, there are more illegal downloads in the UK still than there are legal purchases," the BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor told the BBC.

"[It] compares to about 240 million tracks that were sold legally. A lot of people are getting very rich from stealing other people's things.

"That's wrong, and we think that musicians deserve to be paid for what they do, just like everyone else."

However, Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party UK - who will be attempting to become Manchester's next MP in the next election - said the complaints of record labels is "protectionism".

"We need to remove the barriers for actual artists to connect with their business and their fans," he told the BBC.

"The truth is, why [music industry figures] are complaining so much is that with a properly functioning internet, and a properly functioning economy, the big players are no longer necessary."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 692.

    Two glaring problems with this article, the biased data source, and the biased music industry.

    The whole been deprived of £100 Million + is a joke and so is the idea people are getting rich thru piracy, especially as the example used is BitTorrent (Peer to Peer technology with no £ involved).

    If your budget for music is £0 and you download have you deprived anyone of a sale?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 691.

    690. wobbleywindow
    +++
    All Laws were ''invented'' Do you know what passing off is?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 690.

    Theft "To dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it" By downloading a song you haven't permanently deprived anyone of it. You MAY have prevented them receiving a royalty, how do you prove that? Impossible. You can't steal what they don't own but may have one day owned. Hence copyright laws were invented. Its NOT theft

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 689.

    I do not know who Ed Sheeran is, and frankly i have no interest either!! I like CD`s in my paws. If the Album is released at the same time worldwide fair enough, but if i have to wait a six months il get it where ever i can!
    Do you remember "home taping is killing music"?
    ANYONE who say they don't listen to music ... has no soul and will die alone... Music is life...JUST LISTEN!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 688.

    The music industry is just a greedy organization They have millions of pounds stashed away in secret bank accounts Then claim rights from materials they never created in the first place yet they only hand a small proportion of that revenue to the real artist who created the music They will even file copyright claims on those who talk or sing over copyrighted music that’s how selfish they are

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 687.

    Doesn't this just mean that Manchester is the city with the most ignorant file sharers?

    they've never heard of peerblock or a VPN

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 686.

    685. I AM A TEAPOT
    22 MINUTES AGO
    I wonder just WHO these people are that want people banged up for downloading something, I really do...

    Little Johnny downloads a few songs from "generic already very-rich US poop sensation" so he needs to mix with the murderers and rapists?
    +++
    Theft is theft whether the victim is rich or poor.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 685.

    I wonder just WHO these people are that want people banged up for downloading something, I really do...

    Little Johnny downloads a few songs from "generic already very-rich US poop sensation" so he needs to mix with the murderers and rapists?

    Are they musicians? Do they work for the industry?

    NO!

    Just more angry, spiteful Daily Mail readers.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 684.

    No doubt these stats came from companies using similar methods as the team of lawyers who sent a printer a letter accusing it of downloading material illegally. They're using IP addresses and as anyone with a brain cell knows, those are easily spoofed and cannot be relied on. Sadly, the people who make the laws and enforce them seem to lack that brain cell...or is money changing hands at the top?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 683.

    @612. Stunned_Silence

    If you weren't so ignorant and stupid then you would be able to interpret the statute correcly.

    Property” includes money and all other property, real or personal, including things in action and other intangible property.

    By illegally downloading a track you are depriving the artist of the royalty that they are entitled to for their intangible property under law.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 682.

    Amazing, this HYS has been running for 8+ hours and STILL people are using the "duplication is theft" argument.

    Its been refuted many many times.

    Give it a rest!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 681.

    678. Rick

    Rihanna is a prime example indeed, the 1.25 million downloads havent really hit her earnings - May 2011 to May 2012 Earnings: $53 Million - for the love of the music?

    ------------
    So how much does someone need to earn before it's ok to start stealing from them?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 680.

    675. George Hale
    >>>So who are Musicmetric ...how 'independent' are they?

    Their chairman is an ex VP of EMI, and had worked at Virgin Media etc. The company provides data services to music industry managements. MY research "suggests that" they are "likely to be" far from impartial in their presentation of the data. The data is flawed. Locating only the ISP hosting centre, not end-user location.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 679.

    "A lot of people are getting very rich from stealing other people's things." Proof please. Oh wait, you dont have any because the 'damages' figures are all made up as are these. Why does the BBC allow an industry to make up things as fact?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 678.

    I alway's purchase cd's and tracks for upcoming and the not so popular artists I like, but the music industry is greedy for excessive and overly indulgent lifestyles by the 'superstar' artists and their lackey's/management company's.
    Rihanna is a prime example indeed, the 1.25 million downloads havent really hit her earnings - May 2011 to May 2012 Earnings: $53 Million - for the love of the music?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 677.

    Coventry in front of London!

    Can anyone believe these statistics?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 676.

    From the Smithsonian:
    "The Music Defense League spent over $500,000, running ads in...the United States and Canada. The ads pleaded with the public to demand humans play their music (be it in movie or stage theaters), rather than some cold, unseen machine."
    What goes around comes around...the recording industry stole livelihoods (and made new ones), now it's all change again.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 675.

    So who are Musicmetric and just how 'independent' are they? Do they perhaps have any connection with the music industry? if only there were some publicly owned news organisation that could research and present these facts for us.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 674.

    671. SouperDave

    Helen, when you buy a bottle of champagne, you are buying a performance, not a copy of a performance, that is the difference.
    +++
    So artists should only be paid for live performances and author's should only get paid for live readings?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 673.

    671. SouperDave
    Helen, when you buy a bottle of champagne, you are buying a performance, not a copy of a performance, that is the difference
    ---------------------------------------
    A CD is a copy of a performance. Sainsburys sell CDs in store as well. If you take one without paying - guess what - you're a thief.

 

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