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Illegal Downloading and Its Effects on iTunes Sales

written by: C.D. Crowder•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 1/16/2011

iTunes is a great way to download and organize music and videos, but many people still want everything for free. Here we take a look at illegal downloading and its effects on iTunes sales.

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    A Look at Illegal Downloading

    Illegal downloading became big when Napster was first developed. This provided a universal platform for P2P, or Peer-to-Peer, sharing. When artists, producers and record companies started to demand legal action, Napster was taken down. Those who were found to be either sharing or downloading illegally were subject to outrageous fines, meant to deter future downloading.

    However, illegal downloading still exists, no matter how many sites are shut down or how many fines are given out. New sites are started every day, many with a seemingly legal front. Another problem is trying to trace torrent downloading, which doesn't require any specific sharing network. The government has no way to police every Internet user to check for illegal activity.

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    How Does iTunes Fare

    iTunes As one of the most popular music download sites available, iTunes is very much aware of the illegal downloading problem. However, with the popularity of the iPod, iPad and iPhone, most users prefer to use iTunes to purchase their music and videos. This ensures they do not get a virus. Not to mention, if your computer crashes, you can quickly re-download all your songs without having to search for them again.

    Many have wondered about illegal downloading and its effects on iTunes sales. Apple doesn't release any set details about possible losses due to illegal downloading. They instead choose to focus on the success of providing an easy to use platform for downloading music safely while managing your collection in a single place. Instead of trying to stop illegal downloading, iTunes instead works on ways to make their software easier to use, making it more appealing to users.

    As long as iTunes continues to focus its energies on developing new features and better devices, it will fare well against its illegal counterparts. As prices remain the same, users can feel secure knowing that illegal downloading is not any type of real competition for iTunes.

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    Are Sales Really Affected?

    As long as digital downloading remains popular, iTunes sales will remain high. Most music and videos can be found, with less searching and sorting, making iTunes the choice for the majority of users looking for digital music. Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales are lost, possibly much more, due to illegal downloading. However, this number is only pocket change compared to the yearly iTunes sales.

    To prove this fact, many of the most popular sharing networks are now either completely legal or have been shut down. Fewer are being created to take their place. Illegal downloading will never be stopped, but finding an illegal sharing network is much harder than before. With legal alternatives, such as iTunes, users do not want to risk losing their digital libraries because of a virus from a free song. The fact of the matter is illegal downloading has very little affect on iTunes sales.