Rihanna's album 'Talk That Talk' is the most illegally downloaded album in the world
The first edition of the Digital Music Index (DMI)
covers many aspects of the current digital music landscape, but the one that is really catching everyone’s attention is its data on BitTorrent usage.
After tracking 750,000 artists over a six-month period, the DMI found that the United States is leading the world in illegal downloads at almost 97 million, followed by the UK with over 43 million. Italy, Canada and Brazil make up the rest of the top 5, while Australia lands just outside with over 19 million.
Interestingly, a report by The Age
suggests that Australia could in fact be considered the world’s worst music pirate when the size of our population is taken into account, indicating that Australians are the most frequent illegal music downloaders.
Notably absent from the top 10 list (which also includes Spain, India, France and the Philippines) is China, whose sheer population alone would presumably make it a likely candidate for music piracy. This has led some to question the reliability of the released statistics, as China is also a renowned piracy leader. In fact, The Chicago Tribune
recently reported that China is on a watch list for being one of the world’s worst copyright violators, which begs to question how it managed to escape the top 10 list.
Other interesting stats released by DMI show that Rihanna’s album Talk That Talk
was the most downloaded album in the world, while individual countries such as the US, the UK and Australia appear to be patriotic in their downloading approach as US artist Drake, UK artist Ed Sheeran and Australian group Hilltop Hoods took out the top spot in their respective countries.
Notably, the artists who have been seemingly most affected by piracy have admitted they are not angry about the fact. Drake, the artist whose music has been the most illegally downloaded in the US, said he looks forward to ‘leaks’ because he likes the feedback he receives, while UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran recently told The BBC
that he wasn’t fazed by piracy.
‘I've sold 1.2 million albums, and the stat is that there's 8 million downloads of that as well illegally,’ he said. ‘Nine million people have my record, in England, which is quite a nice feeling. I'm still selling albums, but I'm selling tickets at the same time. My gig tickets are like £18, and my albums £8, so ... it's all relative.’
Similarly, Dylan Liddy, manager of Australian hip-hop group The Hilltop Hoods is nonplussed by the fact that the band he manages is arguably the most ripped off in the country.
‘It is what is. It’s great that the boys are popular,’ he said. ‘We are in the business of selling records so it would be great if we could monetise everything. But at the moment, the way that the music world has moved is getting [towards] illegal downloads and that’s very hard to police.’
Perhaps unsurprisingly, those most concerned by the statistics are music industry executives such as Geoff Taylor, who heads the UK's music industry body BPI. According to him, these results show that music piracy is a huge blow to the UK music industry and everyone involved is affected by the current situation.
'It's on session musicians who play in the studio; it's on the engineers and tape ops in the studio; it's on the guys working in a PR company trying to get coverage; it's on the marketing department; the guys in legal who are doing the contracts,' he said. 'We are losing hundreds of millions of pounds a year that should be getting invested into new music.'
The UK’s strong position as the world’s second largest illegal music downloader may go on decline when new laws are introduced which will implement a ‘three-strike’ rule against copyright infringers. This could even result in users losing internet access once they’ve illegally downloaded three times. However, as artsHub
previously reported, a similar system was imposed in France but was proven unsuccessful.