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Music fans download 759m songs as report names Gainesville, FL America’s BitTorrent capital

LONDON, England (October 3, 2012) — Americans downloaded more than 97 million albums and singles using BitTorrent during the first half of 2012, with Gainesville, FL named as the country’s “pirate capital” in an influential new report. Of the 97 million torrents downloaded across the USA, around 78 percent were albums and 22 percent singles. Assuming an album contains 10 tracks, the total number of songs downloaded would have surpassed 759 million in six months.

Global analysts Musicmetric’s inaugural DigitalMusicIndex (DMI) names Gainesville, FL, Albany, GA, Fairbanks, AK, Lexington, KY and Tallahassee, FL as the top five metro areas for BitTorrent downloads in the U.S. (rated per capita). While not all music available on BitTorrent is unauthorized, the majority of songs delivered through the system are not licensed.

The DMI is the most in-depth report ever published on digital music and is the first to measure file-sharing in this way. Musicmetric also recently announced UK and International BitTorrent trends: http://bit.ly/VpkCPN

BitTorrent allows web users to share large files by downloading small pieces from many computers at once. This study tracked the actual downloads, not the share or the torrent file itself. Musicmetric tracked the files and locations of downloaders, but not their identities.

In contrast to the DMI findings, according to Nielsen SoundScan 150 million albums were sold in the U.S. during the same period, and 220 million albums were sold when including Track Equivalent Albums (10 songs counted as 1 unit); 698 million singles were sold in that same period.

Disregarding population index, the top metro areas in the study were New York (7 million downloads), Los Angeles (6.2 million), Chicago (3.2 million), Atlanta (2.6 million) and Philadelphia (2.5 million).

Top states ranked by downloads per capita were Georgia (3.8m downloads), New York (6.6m), Kentucky (1.5m), Louisiana (1.5m) and Florida (6.2m). The bottom five states were Hawaii (299k), Nebraska (388k), South Dakota (153k), Iowa (750k) and in last place, Minnesota (905k).

Across the USA, the most downloaded releases were Lil Wayne and Drake’s The Motto (438,038 downloads), Drake’s Take Care (453,933), Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne (365,987), Big Sean’s Finally Famous (352,623), and Tyga’s Rack City (304,292).

The full DMI report also takes an in-depth look at social media, showing the drivers and trends behind online consumption of music across the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, Spotify, Vevo, Soundcloud and others. Those interested in purchasing a copy can send an email to dmi@musicmetric.com.

The DMI also found that unlicensed file-sharing has decreased slightly over the past six months in territories where services such as Spotify and iTunes are available. Meanwhile, the previous market-leader MySpace, is now being overtaken by Soundcloud as the site with the most streams for new and breaking acts. YouTube is the most popular website for listening to music online with 33.5 billion plays in the last 12 months.

While the scale of downloading is a cause for concern, the growing interest in digital music offers a massive potential revenue stream for all areas of the entertainment industry – and understanding the data behind it will be vital.

Gregory Mead, global CEO of Musicmetric, said:

“Social media plays a key role in bringing music to people so understanding what makes an impact on music fans is fundamental to the future of the entertainment industry. Knowing what fans like are where they are is crucial for planning effective promotional campaigns and the aim of the DMI was to explore what factors influenced online music habits.

“America has millions of passionate music fans – and while we don’t condone any kind of piracy – the DMI provides a detailed snapshot of the scale of file-sharing as well as licensed music consumption. Detailed data analysis is of great value to the industry and just as retailers need to know their customers, we need to do the same online. Offering people better insight into music through the DMI will help the industry begin to reclaim its past glories and we’re excited about working with labels to achieve this.”

Daniel Savage, Musicmetric’s Los Angeles-based U.S. Head of Operations said:

“Being informed by the trends is vital to revenue generation for the industry. Having a comprehensive view of the networks consumers are engaging on with all segments of artists and genres means it is now possible to be driven by comprehensive facts rather than just by pieces of the puzzle.

“The challenge for copyright holders is to find ways to monetize music files torrented online. The potential for converting revenue lost through file trading is huge but to tap into it, we need clarity on the drivers between social media, file sharing and all the other activity an artist can do.”

State breakdown of BitTorrent downloads January – June 2012

Top metro areas by downloads per capita

Top metro areas by total downloads

Top Releases in the United States

For more information about Musicmetric, visit www.musicmetric.com.

Notes for editors

Musicmetric is the trading name of the music analytics product line from Semetric Ltd, with offices in London, England and Los Angeles, CA.

How BitTorrent works

The BitTorrent network is a distributed file-sharing network. The only data that a torrent file holds is information about the location of different pieces of the target file – the target file being the file being downloaded, e.g. an album of music. Torrents work by dividing the target file into small information chunks, held by a number of users connected to the network. Through this method, users are able to download large files quickly by downloading different parts of the file from multiple different people all at the same time, and reassembling them at the end.

How Musicmetric works

Musicmetric tracks online trends in music and makes this data available to those working in the music industry. The data covers activity on social media, mentions and sentiment on news and blogs, sales and file sharing activity on the BitTorrent network. On the BitTorrent network Musicmetric geographically and anonymously tracks the number of downloads any artist or release gets to a city level, around the globe, every hour. The downloads measured are of actual content downloads (the target file – e.g. the mp3 files) of the torrent rather than the torrent file itself.

More about Musicmetric

Musicmetric, the world’s largest music data trend asset, is the creator of Musicmetric Pro, an artist analytics dashboard that provides fast, accurate, and actionable information on any artist in the world. The company provides insight and understanding into global online consumer behavior for the entertainment industry, aggregating and analyzing all music-related information available on the web, from websites mentioning an artist or release, to social networks frequented by music fans, to peer to peer networks used to trade music, to wherever music fans leave a comment. Musicmetric currently tracks and indexes data for 600,000 artists and more than 10 million individual releases, all in real time, and the company’s dashboards are used by thousands in the industry, including artists, managers, promoters, indie and major labels, and broadcasters. Founded in 2008, Musicmetric is based in London and LA.

Musicmetric Pro tracks four key spheres of online data: social networks, P2P downloads, web mentions, and sentiment. This allows subscribers to quickly see where they are growing their fans online and throughout the world, which social campaigns are picking up traction, what kind of press they are getting on the web, and who their biggest influencers are. The service also shows users their online activity in context to real world events and automatically tracks gig dates, single or album releases, and TV appearances. With a vast amount of historical data available, Musicmetric Pro allows users to save time and cover more ground than possible through human effort alone, whether they need to negotiate sync licenses, radio plugging, book tours, or launch in new territories.

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U.S. Press Contact:
Laurie Jakobsen
Jaybird Communications
646-484-6764
laurie@jaybirdcom.com