"A recent study from the NPD Group found that legal music downloads surged in 2006, and the company predicts that legal services will have more users than peer-to-peer networks by the end of 2007."
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Networks have always been the primary target for music industries as the largest source for copyright infringement, but are P2P Networks really the threat? Nate Anderson investigates on whether or not filesharing remains to be "the red Communist music monster" as opposed to alternative methods of trade as well as examining the numbers behind the threats.
One method described as an alternative to P2P trade is general CD burning/ripping where he quotes the NPD Group that "...'social' ripping and burning of CDs among friends—which takes place offline and almost entirely out of reach of industry policing effort—accounted for 37 percent of all music consumption, more than file-sharing."
Then there is also streamripping which is used by "saving the bitsream from Internet radio or other streaming services" to acquire more infringing copies where Media Rights Technologies (MRT) reports that it is the number one source.
Anderson points out that "[i]f streamripping truly is a bigger threat than CD-swapping and P2P use, it must account for at least 38 percent of all music consumption, leaving only a maximum of 25 percent for both legal and P2P acquisition of music." Canadian law professor Michael Geist, however, explains that "piracy rates can be wildly variable and downright fictional." It basically benefits these organizations to use 'high numbers' to rally support for legal threats and Congressional action, but Anderson notes that both the NPD and MRT agree that "P2P is hardly the music industry's biggest problem."
Source: ars technica