UK label trade body the BPI today claimed that illegal file-sharing “costs British music £1.1 billion”.

According to the group, file-sharers “cut their expenditure on music by £1.1bn over three years”.

The BPI has also observed that the percentage of users sharing music files has declined slightly. Over 100 of the BPI's accusations of file sharing have been settled out of court.

TNS research shows change in pattern

New figures from independent research company TNS Worldpanel estimate the cost to British music of people illegally filesharing rather than paying for music in 2005 was £414 million.
Added to the estimated £278m lost sales in 2003 and estimated £376m in 2004, the loss to British music over the past three years is estimated at £1.1bn, or approximately £650m at trade value.

The labels make the distinction between the £1.1 billion it would cost consumers to buy the music legitimately at retail and the £650 million it would charge retailers for the music they distribute.
For the past three years the BPI in conjunction with the BVA (British Video Association) has commissioned TNS to investigate the financial impact on the music and video industries of file-sharing.  In 2005 questionnaires were sent to half of TNS’ 15,000 Audio Visual Trak panel of 12-74 year olds in Great Britain, with a response rate of 44 per cent, giving a total sample of 3,317 respondents.
The TNS research assembled data from 3,317 respondents between 12-74 years old.

File-sharing falls

The survey also found that the percentage of the population illegally downloading has fallen to 15.4 per cent in 2005 from 16 per cent in 2004, and 17.8 per cent in 2003;
The percentage of downloaders using only legal services has doubled from 11 per cent in 2004 to 23 per cent in 2005. 31 per cent use both legal and illegal services.

The news comes as international recording industry body IFPI announces a new wave of 2,000 actions in ten countries worldwide. This brings the total number of actions against filesharers in Europe to 5,550.
The BPI has to date brought 138 actions against alleged UK filesharers, and has settled more than 100 of these cases. A further two court cases saw file-sharers ordered to make interim payments of £2500.
The UK's digital music business was worth $69 million in 2005.