Legally downloaded music triples in 2005

An increase in the number of broadband connections abroad coupled with an industry campaign to both prosecute and educate against illegal downloading is to blame

The number of digital music tracks legally downloaded from the Internet almost tripled in the first half of 2005 as the use of high-speed broadband connections surged around the world, the international recording industry revealed last week.

The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) in London said that 180 million single tracks were downloaded legally in the first six months of the year, compared to 57 million tracks in the first half of 2004 and 157 million for the whole of last year, reported by the Associated Press.

The federation credited the increase to a 13 percent rise in the number of broadband lines installed around the world, along with an industry campaign to both prosecute and educate against illegal downloading. It said there was just a three percent increase in illegal filesharing to 900 million in July, from 870 million at the start of the year.

The IFPI, which has filed hundreds of lawsuits worldwide accusing people of putting copyright songs onto Internet file-sharing networks and offering them to millions without permission, said that the legitimate market is responding to the increased demand.

There are now more than 300 digital sites available worldwide — three times the number a year ago, and 2.2 million people now subscribe to digital services, compared to 1.5 million in January.

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