It's good news for the music industry on both counts; big albums such as Coldplay's X&Y are reputedly flying off the shelves in spite of the weather, while on the computer screen more people are legally downloading than ever before - an increase of 75%, while a similar sub-percentage of the 40% of declared pirates say they will stop downloading in the near future according to Entertainment Media Research, who carried out the 2005 Digital Music Survey.
In addition to the BPI suing the diehard pirates and the parents of a few easy targets, there's also the factor of a growing number of users (and their parents) simply fed up with the trojans and viruses which can also get downloaded from the kazaas and limewires of the illegal p2p sector. For a varying spread of prices starting at under £1 some would prefer to stump up if they were guaranteed a piece of music free from viruses - even if Digital Rights Management was another argument. Let's not forget the ability to buy that embarrassing charity or ringtone single in total anonymity as well.
Those people who don't like being told what to do with their music should come back to plain old CD. The most competitive record companies will put out a single by their band (for example Doves) on two CDs, with extra tracks and maybe even a collector's 7" of ye olde vinyl or a DVD Single, for £5...as long as you buy them in the first week. Even late collectors will generally find the two-tracker CD staying down at £2.
Add to the fact that the album's £7 in the sales on average if you know where to look and the forementioned Coldplay under a tenner online, and there's no excuse for pirates anymore regarding price, they're simply stealing, as they've always done, because they can. The rest of us can enjoy the benefits of big retail chains needing to fight the march of the internet in both legal and illegal forms.