Ninety-five per cent of music downloaded online is illegal, a report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has said. The global music trade body said this is its biggest challenge as artists and record companies miss out on payments.
There has, however, been a 25% rise since last year with downloads now accounting for a fifth of all recorded music sales.
The IFPI said worldwide music market revenues shrank by 7% last year. This was blamed on falling CD sales, while the increase in digital sales failed to make up for this. The IFPI, which represents 1,400 companies in 72 countries, estimated more than 40 billion music files were illegally shared in 2008.
There were 1.4 billion single tracks legally downloaded in 2008, with the top-selling digital single, Lil Wayne's Lollipop, selling 9.1 million copies.