Monday Fresh: US Illegal Downloads Top 97 Million In 2012

US music fans download more illegal music than any country in the world, according to a sensational report this morning. But does it help musicians gain a fan base?

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US music fans download more illegal music than any country in the world, according to a sensational report this morning.

The Digital Music Index report by Musicmetric claims to be the most in-depth study of the global digital music landscape, and tracked 750,000 artists. It reveals that the US are followed by the UK, Italy and Canada as the most prolific illegal downloaders.

405 million music releases were downloaded in the first half of 2012, with 97 million coming from the US and 43 million from the UK. The majority of downloads are of full albums rather than single releases.

The most downloaded artist in the US in 2012 is Drake, while acoustic musician Ed Sheeran is the most downloaded in the UK. Kanye West tops Canada's piracy chart.

Ed Sheeran has responded to the report saying he doesn't mind the illegal downloads because it helps him sell tickets to his shows. "There's a decent balance between you can live off your sales and you can allow people to illegally download it and come to your gigs. My gig tickets are £18 and my album is £8, so it's all relative," he said.

However, chief of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) Geoff Taylor said the report proves that illegal downloads are still a significant problem. "It is having a significant effect on investment in new music. That remains our serious concern," he told the BBC (via Music Week). "We just need to get over to them the harm that they're doing to investment in new British music."

Do you think downloading helps artists gain a fan base, or is it doing irreversible damage to the music industry? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

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    People are doing illegal things so that they CAN listen to Drake? Listening to Drake sounds like a punishment for committing a crime to me.
    British Phonographic Industry (BPI)... did anyone else read it as the British Pornographic Industry?
    Thank god for this comment and some problem with UG's system, otherwise I woulda posted a reallyyyy stupid comment a little while ago.
    Maybe people are downloading Drake so that he'll go bankrupt and stop making music? That's the only possible reason I can think of.
    link no1
    Could the same thing not be achieved by pretending he doesn't exist and not buying his album?
    Canada is a leader of something illegal?! Also, who cares what the British Phonographic Industry thinks, phonographs haven't been relevant in years.
    What's a Drake?
    its either a male duck or a type of dragon???
    Hmmmm i wonder why he named himself this...then again he mumbles like half the time, attempting to sing thinking that hes an rnb artist, and then the other half hes trying to act tough, having the likes of ppl like lil wayne back him up, gross.
    I believe it's an old old wooden ship used in the civil war era
    I believe you're thinking of "diversity", which is spelled similarly to Drake, so I could see the confusion.
    So the UK downloads roughly half of what the USA does with only a fifth of the population size.... Well done UK...
    Everyone calm down, it's just me. I'll do my best to slow down the full album downloading pace while I spend my hard earned dollars on concert tickets and band merch.
    I always wonder what evidence they have when they say illegal downloading hurts young bands when sites like bandcamp exist for them to market their music and merch as they see fit.
    Not sure if this will go through, but is anyone else having trouble posting? It keeps reading "Recapcha error" when I try to post.
    well no shit they do... america has such a big population... im not suprised... I live in the netherlands and we are pretty high on the list, but the thing is: it's not illigal here. (yet)