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Digital Music and Mobile Phones
January 01, 2005

The market for digital music on the Internet and mobile phones took off in 2004, according to a report released Wednesday that showed the global recording industry collecting significant revenues from the segment for the first time.

However, the report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, also warned that rampant piracy continued to erode legitimate profits.

The IFPI, which represents more than 1,450 record companies across the globe, said music fans in the United States and Europe legally downloaded more than 200 million tracks in 2004, up from about 20 million in 2003. That contributed to estimated digital music revenues of around US$330 million (euro253 million) in 2004, up sixfold from the previous year.

"Digital music is now in the mainstream," said John Kennedy, the chairman and CEO of IFPI. "There was major growth in 2004, it has really taken off."

Kennedy said digital piracy remains a major problem: The IFPI and its subsidiaries launched hundreds of lawsuits in 2004 against individuals and groups it accuses of illegally sharing music through the Internet.

Kennedy said an accompanying education campaign warning people against downloading illegally has begun to take effect. But he said there were more lawsuits in the pipeline.

"We have been complacent in the past, now it's time for it to be put high on the agenda," Kennedy said.

IFPI claims that piracy is behind a global slump in music sales that began in 2000. It said worldwide sales of recorded music fell 7.6 percent in 2003 following a similar drop the previous year.


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