According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, 95% of all music downloaded is illegal.
The IFPI, which represents 1,400 companies in 72 countries, estimated more than 40 billion music files were illegally shared in 2008. The organization is making the fight against such piracy a top priority, given the financial impact it has on artists and record companies. Worldwide music revenues shrank by 7% last year, according to the IFPI, and the increase in digital sales didn't account for the falling CD sales.
1.4 billion tracks were downloaded legally last year, with Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" taking the number one trophy with 9.1 million downloads.
The digital music business now rakes in an estimated $3.7 billion.
"There is a momentous debate going on about the environment on which our business, and all the people working in it, depends," said John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of IFPI. "Governments are beginning to accept that, in the debate over 'free content' and engaging ISPs in protecting intellectual property rights, doing nothing is not an option if there is to be a future for commercial digital content."