Reuters reports legitimate digital music sales grew strongly in 2008 but were still dwarfed by the scale of illegal downloads, despite industry efforts to adapt to the internet and offer more choice to customers.
A report by the trade body IFPI showed legal digital global sales grew by an estimated 25% to US$3.7 billion in trade value, to account for about 20% of the industry's global recorded music sales, up from 15% in 2007.
However, the rapid rate of growth has slowed. Reuters says digital sales grew by more than 30% in 2007 and the scale of the piracy has eaten into revenues, meaning the overall music market for 2008 is expected to be down about 7%. It fell by 8%in 2007.
The report showed about 95% of the music downloaded in 2008, or more than 40 billion files, was illegal and not paid for.