If you are fed up of having your favourite CD pinched by your mates you need to get on the digital bandwagon and start downloading your music according to a new survey published today.

New research indicates that 2 billion records and CDs go missing from personal music collections in the UK.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 adults, taken as a representative sample of the UK population, indicates that music fans across the UK have lost an estimated 2 billion records and CDs - either from friends failing to return them or theft - and that we regularly fail to listen to half our physical collections, resulting in a potential 3.5 billion unplayed records lying dormant each month.

The missing CDs, vinyl and cassettes - an average of 37 per person out of an average total music collection of 126 records each - is helping drive the population towards digital music services, with one in five of us now accessing music from the Internet. As a result, nearly (42%) no longer purchase music in high street record stores citing difficulty in finding the right music as the main reason for changing their purchasing preferences.

This growing trend towards digital music is reflected by the 25% who would rather power up a PC or plug in an MP3 player to listen to their favourite tracks instead of using their hi-fi. The MP3 player was also the preferred format for saving an entire music collection in one place with 35% opting for digital over CD, vinyl or cassette. This could be because the average person owns 126 albums but 37% have had to replace their records and CDs through friends keeping them, people taking them at parties or partners gaining custody of them when relationships end. The CD in particular is proving problematic for many UK consumers whose biggest complaint is how easy it is to scratch.

The survey of 1,000 UK adults taken as a representative sample of the entire population was carried out by telephone by independent research house, ICM in October 2005.

According to Napster who paid for the survey, the news is helping drive take-up of digital services.