Sound of Music gets Legit | HT Tech

Sound of Music gets Legit

There couldn?t be better news for music companies. Legal music downloads tripled in the first half of the year, writesPuneet Mehrotra.

| Updated on: Jul 25 2005, 19:19 IST

There couldn't be better news for music companies. Legal music downloads tripled in the first half of the year. IFPI, International Federation of Phonographic Industries last week said the number of legally downloaded songs increased threefold in the first half of this year. The number of downloaded songs increased from 57 million in the first half of 2004 and 100 million in the second half of that same year to 180 million so far this year.  

Winning the war against piracy

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"Changing attitudes" says John Kennedy CEO of IFPI. But noteworthy is another interesting development, even though legal song downloads increased to 180 million, illegal downloads available increased from 870 million to 900 million.

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Well in terms of figures and the percentage rise that's a sure success for the music industry. John does have a point when he says  'We are now seeing real evidence that people are increasingly put off by illegal file sharing and turning to legal ways of enjoying music online.'  Also noteworthy is the announcement Apple made last week about passing the 500 million song mark.

So what exactly is bringing about this change in 'attitudes'? Have netizens suddenly become God fearing? Or is the fear of the law?

The motivating factor

So is the fear of God or the fear of law? What is motivating people to pay for music, something they would get free?

Since the industry began slapping law suits on music pirates in 2003, over 14,000 proceedings have been reported in 12 countries including the UK, US, Japan, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands and Italy. The majority of these have been against men between the 20 and 35.

John claims its prosecution and viruses. In his words "main motivations for changing their download sources are fear of prosecution and fear of computer damage. Whether it's the fear of getting caught breaking the law, or the realization that many networks could damage your home PC, attitudes are changing, and that is good news for the whole music industry.'

Well I don't completely believe John's "prosecution and virus theory". I found a better argument for the "changing attitudes" posted  by a person named Joshua on  and I completely agree with him. He says "I strongly differ with the IFPI's contention that fear of prosecution and fear of computer problems are the main motivations for the change. I believe that the main motivation is simple economics. Consumers drive the market by demanding products, and it is up to manufacturers to provide those products. When the supply is low and the manufacturers are unwilling to create supply lines, there inevitably rise black markets."

He goes on to say something I absolutely agree with "average consumer will be more than willing to pay for products if those products are packaged as the consumer wants them, not as the manufacturer wants them. Give the consumers what they want (inexpensive access to the music they want and hardware that can hold that music) and the consumers will be hooked."

I would recommend you to view Joshua's point of view on

The legit sound of music

300 legal web sites, 190 of them in 23 European countries plus subscription services like Apple's iTunes and Napsterhave also helped to encourage the surge, reporting an increase in members to 2.2 million from 1.5 million in January. Apple also recently claimed that its iPod quintupled its income to $320m. Currently Apple's iTunes has the largest selection, offering 1.5 million tracks. Napster is a close second offering 1.2 million tracks.

With quality services such as these the number of legal downloads promises to only increase.

(Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist at and edits you can email him on

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First Published Date: 06 Jul, 11:59 IST