Let's face it, if we use figures from industry sources then the piracy numbers are always going to be inflated. I've seen stats that say that for every one digital download purchased, at least 20 are pirated, but that seems way beyond the realm of reason. Piracy has always been a fact of life to the music business, even as far back as the late 60's when consumer reel to reel tape machines first came on the market. The major labels figured that they were losing about 20% to piracy then, and I don't see any reason why that figure should be higher than that today. That said, as we approach widespread adoption of subscription music, look for that figure to drop like a rock. Why illegally download when you can get whatever you want so easily?
This infographic actually makes the case that digital sales are up because of piracy, and you can easily make a case that that's true. As I say multiple times in my Music 3.0 book, "your music is your marketing." The more exposure it has, the more likely people are to buy it.
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