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Britons downloaded more than 340 mln pounds worth of songs illegally in six months

London, Sept. 17 (ANI): More than 340 million pounds worth of songs were illegally downloaded in the UK in the first half of 2012, research has revealed.

Millions of Britons are breaking the law rather than paying for music, evidence from the Digital Music Index by analysts Musicmetric has shown.

The data suggests that the blocking of Pirate Bay, a file-sharing website, earlier this year, has had little impact on an industry worth 1.2 billion pounds a year in exports alone.

According to the Daily Mail, albums by Ed Sheeran and Rihanna were among the most popular downloads

People looking to download music for free have instead turned to BitTorrent, a network where tunes can be obtained speedily, but mostly illegally, from other users.

The most popular downloads albums were by pop idols Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks and Rihanna.

“Knowing what people are downloading and where is incredibly valuable to labels and artists,” Matt Mason, executive director at BitTorrent which offers legal downloads but is frequently misused, said.

“It’s short-sighted to think that we can simply tell people to stop and they will,” he added.

According to the report, record labels recognize that although the illegal download business is damaging their sales, there is also the potential to capitalise on the massive online fan base, whether through tours, advertising or sponsorship. (ANI)