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BitTorrent music downloads helping artists: report

Downloading music illegally using platforms like BitTorrent is the enemy of record labels, but a report suggests it might actually be good news for the musicians themselves.  

BitTorrent is a way of sharing files – music, movies and TV shows – between different people on the Internet.

While there are some legal uses for BitTorrent transfers, a majority of traffic is illegal file sharing. In fact, Musicmetric, a group which tracks torrent traffic, found the most shared file in Canada was Kanye West’s album ‘Watch the Throne.’ Strangely, it was the Americans who were after Canadian rapper Drake’s single, ‘The Motto,’ making it the most shared music file in the U.S.

But while recording companies might cringe at the thought of losing tens of millions of dollars in lost sales, some musicians say file sharing is good news.

Ed Sheeran, whose song is the most pirated in the U.K., told BBC Newsbeat that all the file sharing is actually helping him.

“You get people who actually want to listen to your songs and come to (a concert), who wouldn't necessarily buy the album,” he said.

“"You can live off your sales and you can allow people to illegally download it and come to your gigs. My gig tickets are £18 and my album is £8, so it's all relative.”

Meanwhile, music guru Alan Cross wrote a blog post about how streaming music is better for the environment than physical music sales, such as CDs.

Between the energy used to make the disc itself, package it, ship it and sell it – streaming a digital file direct to your phone is much better for the Earth.

How do you get your music? Via BitTorrent? iTunes? A physical store?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets



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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.