Monitoring service Musicmetric has conducted a study on piracy around the world, revealing that the UK's number one city for piracy is Manchester. The data was collected as part of Musicmetric's Digital Music Index, an effort to analyse the preferences and tastes of music lovers. The data shows that the UK illegally shared 43 million albums and singles in the first six months of 2012 alone. Of the 43 million albums and singles, 78 percent were full albums while 22 percent were singles.
Despite the fact that sites like Newzbin2 are blocked by major ISPs in the United Kingdom, Musicmetric's study shows that the UK is second only to the United States in terms of downloads. The company said its data comes from worldwide BitTorrent trends. According to the data, seen exclusively by the BBC, Ed Sheeran was the most pirated act in the UK for the first half of 2012. Rizzle Kicks and Rihanna came in at number two and three, respectively.
Speaking to the BBC, Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the British Phonographic Industry, highlighted the fact that Musicmetric's data puts illegal downloads ahead of legal purchases.
"According to their data, there are more illegal downloads in the UK still than there are legal purchases," Taylor is quoted as saying. [It] compares to about 240 million tracks that were sold legally. A lot of people are getting very rich from stealing other people's things."
Interestingly enough, Musicmetric reports that 'The Cardigan' EP by Bill Van is the number torrent being downloaded in five of the top 20 countries by downloads. This EP is licensed for distribution via BitTorrent, which again brings the debate back to piracy being a service problem as opposed to a pricing problem.