Digital-music sales will be worth $1.8 billion by 2008, reports analysts firm Informa Media. The market rises to $3.9 billion when online sales of CDs are included.

While predicting more music piracy ahead, the analysts are optimistic that the market share for legal digitally distributed music sales will rise from 4.5 per cent in 2003 to 11.9 per cent in 2008.

However, CD, DVD, vinyl and cassette recordings will continue to account for most sales until 2008, though combined digital-music revenues will reach $1.8 billion by 2008.

Apple recently announced that its pioneering online digital-music iTunes store sold its ten millionth track.

Privacy and anonymity The firm believes file sharing will continue, as peer-to-peer software appears that places "greater emphasis on privacy and anonymity". The analysts "expect the music industry to have some success in limiting consumer's access to illegal networks", but this will be tempered by the arrival of new, secure peer-to-peer file sharing networks.

"However, high levels of unauthorized music copies will still be available through file sharing networks." The analysts expect the value of lost sales to the music industry to rise from $2.4 billion in 2003 to $4.7 billion in 2008.

Informa Media also believes that increasing broadband adoption will exacerbate the peer-to-peer problem; though it will also encourage the legitimate music market.