Internet piracy hits global record sales

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The Independent Culture

Music sales fell by 5 per cent worldwide last year as mass internet piracy and copying of compact discs continued to grow despite the efforts of record companies to protect their businesses from new technology.

The value of the global music market fell to £23.5bn in 2001 even with demand for artists running at a high, figures released by the industry showed yesterday.

Plagued by pirate websites and growing use of technology which allows music lovers to burn tracks on to CDs, legitimate sales fell across the world's biggest markets including America, Germany and Japan. Experts believe the growth of internet download sites has been such that one in every three recordings sold around the world is now illegal, costing the industry £2.9bn a year.

The only countries to buck the trend were Britain and France, where demand for home-grown artists such as Dido and Robbie Williams led to a rise in sales.

The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI), the umbrella body for record companies which collates the figures, admitted piracy was a growing problem. Record companies are hoping for a better performance next year as they launch their own download services and introduce copy protection measures to CDs.