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Fewer people are downloading music illegally as they increasingly turn to free streaming services

Illegal music downloads fell by a quarter in 2012

Newly released figures have revealed that the number of people illegally downloading and sharing their music has fallen dramatically.

A survey conducted by the NPD Group found that 40 per cent of individuals who illegally obtained music via peer-to-peer services in 2011 said they had either limited or stopped entirely.

In total, the number of songs downloaded illegally from peer sharing networks declined by 26 per cent between 2011 and 2012 alone.

NPD links the fall to an overall decline in the use of such P2P networks, revealing that just 21 million people use such services now in comparison to the 33 million that did in 2005.

Music streaming services has also been cited as the cause for the fall, as users increasingly turn to services such as Spotify.

NPD found that half of all users polled within the survey admitted that they had cut their illegal download habits as a result of music streaming services.

In a statement following the survey, Russ Crupnick, NPD’s senior vice president of industry analysis said: "In recent years, we’ve seen less P2P activity, because the music industry has successfully used litigation to shut down Limewire and other services."

"Many of those who continued to use P2P services reported poor experiences, due to rampant spyware and viruses on illegal P2P sites."

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