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Manchester named UK piracy capital

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UK piracy figures revealed

Manchester downloads more illegal music per person than anywhere else in the UK, according to a study by Musicmetric.

The results, collected through the monitoring of BitTorrent files and seen exclusively by the BBC, were dominated by cities with large student populations.

Manchester is followed by Nottingham, Southampton, Liverpool and Sheffield, while London, which naturally tops the list when ranked by volume alone, sits down in 20th once per person figures are taken into account.

Across the UK, Ed Sheeran is the most illegally downloaded artist so far this year, but he has already said he doesn’t mind how fans get hold of his music. Other pirated musicians include Rizzle Kicks, Rihanna and Jessie J.

You can view regional results using the BBC search tool, which allows you to see which artist is most pirated in your postcode.

World view of illegal downloading

The country as a whole is the second biggest music piracy hotspot in the world, with 43.3 million illegal downloads so far this year. Only the USA has more, with 96.8 million. Other countries in the top five are Italy (33.2 million), Canada (23.9 million) and Brazil (19.6 million).

Rihanna’s Talk That Talk album is the most pirated worldwide, with well over a million copies downloaded illegally.

British Phonographic Industry chief executive Geoff Taylor said that illegal downloads outweighed legitimate purchases, which the organisation believes has a “significant effect on investment in new music.”

In contrast, Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye said that record labels were complaining to save themselves, arguing: “With a properly functioning internet, and a properly functioning economy, the big players are no longer necessary.” Mr Kaye plans to put himself forward as an MP candidate at the next election.

Google has already attempted to combat piracy in the film industry, and is likely to punish any site infringing copyrighted content with a sharp fall in rankings.

Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: “Clearly this is a very divisive issue, with even the artists themselves differing in their views on illegal downloading. Whether the results of this survey will lead to anything is unclear, but it is still an interesting study in its own right.”

Written by James Riches

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