Ed Sheeran tops the UK music piracy charts, Drake tops US

A new study has put the carrot-topped, Olympic closing ceremony performing Ed Sheeran at the top of a new chart which tallies the most pirated musicians in the UK.

The study, carried out by Musicmetric, claims Ed Sheeran’s tunes are the most pirated in the UK, with his album + being the top download in 459 of 694 UK locations tested and shared over 55,000 times per month. Rihanna’s Talk That Talk and Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange took second and third spots respectively.

Musicmetric studied the usage of the BitTorrent downloading service in 694 locations across the UK, and came to the conclusion that Manchester is responsible for the biggest slice of illegal downloading and sharing of music. Over 43 million albums and singles were downloaded illegally in the past year by us Brits, and of that proportion the highest number of downloads per person comes from Manchester. Nottingham, Southampton and Liverpool follow up in second, third and fourth places.

The BBC has put together a neat little tool that allows you to enter your postcode or region to see which artists are most popular in the illegal download stakes. Ed Sheeran is pretty popular around here too, as it happens, and we’re told that quite a few people share Emile Sande’s tunes illegally too.

US rapper Drake tops the piracy charts in the States, as well as overall in the world, with a whopping 96 million shares in the past 6 months. To put that figure into some perspective, Kanye West’s music was shared 23 million times in Canada, making him the most shared artist there in the past half-year.

Despite various methods of clamping down on illegal music sharing recently it seems that piracy is still on the rise. When interviewed by the BBC, Ed Sheeran didn’t seem all too bothered, saying that both legal and illegal downloads contribute to his overall popularity and in turn the sales of his gig tickets, which prove to be more profitable than album sales.

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