Manchester has been named as the UK hotspot for illegal music downloads in the UK, with the country as a whole illegally downloading around £250m of music a year. Pirated downloads have long been the bane of the music industry, and earlier this year a court ordered internet service providers including Sky, BT and Virgin Media to block the Swedish file-sharing site Pirate Bay.
The most popular pirated albums in the UK were Mr Sheeran's "+", followed by Rizzle Kicks' Stereo Typical and Rihanna's Talk that Talk. Worldwide there were 3 billion songs downloads in the first half of the year, a report said. The USA was the country with the most illegal download, at 775 million, followed by the UK. Rihanna's album Talk that Talk was the most pirated album worldwide at 1.2m downloads.
The study by digital music analysts musicmetric, anonymously measures downloads via the BitTorrent methods of downloading files from multiple users. The majority of downloads via this file-sharing method, MusicMetric said, will be illegal.
However, the Digital Music Index report shows that blocking the site had little, if any, effect of illegal downloads. The report says that there were 43 million album and single downloads via BitTorrent in the first half of the year, with Brit award winner Ed Sheeran the most downloaded artist.
Excerpts: Channel 4 News