In the first six months of 2012 the total number of music releases downloaded globally was 405 million, of which 43 million were in the UK
Here's the press release for the MusicMetric report which was just on BBC Breakfast... (COMMENTARY BY ME IN CAPITALS)
File sharing in UK hits 345m songs in most in-depth study ever of digital music, 3bn songs across the globe (THIS IS FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2012)
The most in-depth study ever of the digital music industry has revealed that UK-based BitTorrent consumption hit 43 million album and single releases downloaded during the first half of 2012.
Torrents are bundles of files - so one torrent could include numerous songs. According to the first ever Digital Music Index (DMI), published later this week by global analysts Musicmetric, 78 per cent of the torrents were albums and 22 per cent singles. (I THOUGHT ALBUMS WERE DEAD?? I WONDER WHAT PERCENT WERE PEOPLE DOWNLOADING ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHIES?)
Musicmetric anonymously tracks the entire BitTorrent sphere - meaning the data sample offers the most extensive and accurate picture yet of the digital music universe. No data is retained and it is not possible to identify any individuals through the anonymous data. (HOW DO THEY GET THIS DATA THEN?)
If each album is assumed to contain at least 10 songs, then the total number of tunes downloaded would exceed 345 million for the first half of 2012. Apple sells new singles for 99p and albums for £7.99 in its iTunes store. (HOWEVER, THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT PERCENT OF THESE PEOPLE WENT ON TO BUY THE MUSIC. WE ALSO HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY TIMES PEOPLE LISTENED TO THE MUSIC. WOULDN'T A YOUTUBE STREAM ROYALTY PERHAPS BE A FAIRER PRICE COMPARISON?)
The DMI will reveal that Manchester had the highest rate of downloading per capita, followed by Nottingham and Southampton.
The report will be available from www.musicmetric.com/dmi
Torrents can be legal as well as containing illegal files - but the majority of albums listed are not legally available via BitTorrent.
According to Musicmetric, the most popular pirated albums in the UK were Ed Sheeran’s + (Plus), Rizzle Kicks’ Stereo Typical and Rihanna’s Talk That Talk for the first half of 2012. (SEEN A FEW REPORTS ELSEWHERE TALKING ABOUT "REAL MUSIC FANS" LOL)
Of course there are other important aspects of the digital music industry where social media plays a key role in allowing artists to interact with fans.
Musicmetric tracks everything that happens online with music, bringing together downloads, online plays, social media interaction and sales which allows for any artist to be easily measured and benchmarked against another.
Knowing what impact advertising campaigns, tours or TV appearances make is vital for the industry.
Ed Sheeran’s latest album + (Plus) topped the ubiquity rankings hitting number one by total number of downloads in over 460 towns around the UK, although those in Bournemouth showed a rather different taste in music with the Discography of The Eagles topping their chart. (PEOPLE IN BOURNEMOUTH ARE OLDER THEN)
Gregory Mead, chief executive of Musicmetric, said:
“Knowing exactly where your fans are has long been a holy grail for record labels. Understanding what drives them to engage will be vital to helping the industry to really prosper in the coming years.
"For the first time, we have evidence that blocking Pirate Bay had little effect on BitTorrent downloading. It is also clear however, that availability of streaming services like Spotify does reduce this activity as people have greater access to music they want via legitimate means.
"The challenge for copyright holders is to find ways to monetise music files torrented online. The potential for converting revenue lost through file trading is not entirely a fairy tale, however it will differ with different genres and life stages of artist.
"While the file sharing network is largely ignored as a proactive channel, little progress can be made on figuring out how this might be possible.
"Clarity on the drivers between social media, file sharing and gig activity is what can deliver the industry and in our report these are being put under the microscope for the first time, which could prove a major turning point for the music industry.”
Top 20 UK cities for the first half of 2012 based on BitTorrent downloads over that period ARRANGED PER CAPITA (as this is a truer reflection of concentration) are:
City Downloads over 6 month period
1. Manchester 1,317,012
2. Nottingham 598,621
3. Southampton 480,151
4. Liverpool 927,535
5. Sheffield 748,301
6. Leicester 487,406
7. Stoke-on-trent 380,872
8. Glasgow 1,037,934
9. Cardiff 348,603
10. Leeds 566,589
11. Bristol 424,790
12. Edinburgh 519,736
13. Wolverhampton 257,840
14. Derby 195,632
15. Reading 190,053
16. Bradford 233,339
17. Kingston upon Hull 256,479
18. Birmingham 803,741
19. Coventry 198,481
20. London 4,565,502
The Top 20 albums downloaded in the UK in the first 6 months of 2012 by total torrent downloads during the entire first six months of 2012:
1. Ed Sheeran - + (Plus)
2. Rizzle Kicks - Stereo Typical
3. Rihanna - Talk That Talk
4. Jessie J - Who You Are
5. Olly Murs - In Case You Didn't Know
6. Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events
7. Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
8. Chase & Status – No More Idols
9. Chris Brown - F.A.M.E
10. Gotye - Making Mirrors
11. Noel Gallagher - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
12. Drake - Take Care
13. Adele - 21
14. Kanye West - Watch The Throne
15. Beyoncé - 4
16. Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires
17. The Script - Science & Faith
18. James Morrison - The Awakening
19. JLS - Jukebox
20. Florence and The Machine - Ceremonials
Matt Mason, executive director at BitTorrent, said:
“Musicmetric’s findings offer a fascinating insight into the realities of the market which are essential if we want to see the music industry get back to its peak. These figures show for the first time that blocking the Pirate Bay had zero effect on piracy. It's short-sighted to think that we can simply tell people to stop and they will. But great data like this will help companies build better services and platforms that empower artists to distribute their work into the BitTorrent ecosystem in ways that make sense for them. Consumers have used the BitTorrent protocol for over decade because it's the best way to move large files. That's true for musicians too. The challenge is building the right business models on top of the technology, which is something we're very committed to here."
“As a way of sharing large files torrents are massively valuable and we shouldn’t forget the vast amount of legal use we have them. In the last month alone, we've worked with the Internet Archive to add 1.5mm pieces of music, books and movies to the BitTorrent ecosystem with the permission and blessing of the creators. The BitTorrent protocol is simply the network through which data flows, not the content itself. But knowing what people are downloading and where is incredibly value to labels and artists."
“The opportunity here lies in creating immersive and innovative packages of content for real music fans – and this is something we’re increasingly doing with global artists like Counting Crows and DJ Shadow. The more people grasp the options at their disposal to better engage with fans through BitTorrent, the quicker we’ll see all the fantastic artists and content creators around us prosper again.”
Michael Fiebach, CEO of Fame House, said:
"We are in a state of transition in the music industry. Monetizing streaming platforms is probably the future for recorded music sales, along with supplementary niche markets like vinyl, CDs, and specialty items. However, we are still very far-off from there being a new sustainable model for recorded music. This creates a situation where the best way to really make money is through touring (and licensing depending on the act). To increase touring revenues, you have to gain significant attention online. File sharing is 1 way to do this. Bittorrent is an ecosystem of music lovers who are seeking content. Why not utilize that as a promotional channel? To me, it is a no-brainer."
Nigel Davies, a partner at Davenport Lyons a leading music industry law firm, said:
“These figures bring real context to the downloading debate, although I don’t think people always fully appreciate what they’re doing or the damage it does to songwriters and artists – the very people music fans wouldn’t want to steal from.
“The holy grail of any form of social media, advertising and sponsorship is a metric to clearly assess the impact of what’s happening. There’s no substitute for the huge love fans feel for bands, so being able to measure, analyse and capture it in a positive way is critical - metrics are absolutely vital.
“There are various measures copyright holders can implement to protect their rights but what’s necessary – particularly in an increasingly converging world - is a combination of effort using the legal system, education and communication. There’s a missing link between communicating what torrents do and what value they lose.
“The current trend for production of increasingly enriched content (physical and digital) offers what should be an attractive alternative. The DMI shows having suitable alternatives drives down torrent usage. There’s no doubt about the genius of platforms such as Spotify. They are quick and rich – fabulous tools for bringing new music to the attention of different people.
“If we can better understand the dynamics of the digital market, we will be better placed to navigate through them.”
Notes for editors
Musicmetric is the trading name of the music analytics product line from Semetric Ltd, registered in London, UK, with offices in Shoreditch, London and Los Angeles, USA.
How Musicmetric works
Musicmetric tracks online trends in music and makes this data available to those working in the music industry. The data covers activity on social media, mentions and sentiment on news and blogs, sales and file sharing activity on the BitTorrent network. On the BitTorrent network Musicmetric geographically and anonymously tracks the number of downloads any artist or release gets to a city level, around the globe, every hour.
How BitTorrent works
The BitTorrent network is a distributed file-sharing network. The only data that a torrent holds is information about the location of different pieces of the target file. Torrents work by dividing the target file into small information chunks, held by a number of users connected to the network. Through this method, users are able to download large files quickly by downloading different parts of the file from multiple different people all at the same time, and reassembling them at the end.
*According to the BPI, 26.6 million legally downloaded albums were sold in 2011 while
CD album sales managed 86.2 million discs. See: http://www.bpi.co.uk/assets/files/music%20sales%20slip%20in%202011%20but%20digital%20grow%20strongly.pdf
- Relevant artist taggings: