File-Sharing Continues to Increase, Big Yearly Gains

P2P file-sharing levels continue to grow, with new figures from NPD Group showing some robust increases.

According to the recent report, total file-sharing volume in March ramped up to 242 million songs, a 25% increase compared to the same period in 2004. That
is a significant climb, especially in the face of repeated RIAA lawsuits against individual file-sharers. Meanwhile, paid downloads also showed solid increases, with NPD reporting a total of 25.9 million transactions for the month. That is a 52% increase over the equivalent month in 2004, though overall volume has only recently developed into something meaningful.

While the NPD numbers show a clear increase, measuring P2P traffic is a tricky science. Most firms report that file-sharing levels are steadily increasing, though a flood of spoofed files could be artificially pumping volume considerably. To avoid this problem, P2P tracking authority BigChampagne normally uses unique users, which offers a more reliable gauge of file-sharing activity. According to the most recent BigChampagne data, average simultaneous global users hit 8.7 million in May, a jump of nearly 19 percent over the same month last year.