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Proves digital music industry thriving, contradicting record labels’ claims the Digital Economy Act is necessary to punish illegal downloaders and create a healthy digital music marketplace.Once again there is news that the UK’s digital music industry is thriving despite claims by the music industry to the contrary. For years now the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has complained that illegal downloading has been decimating the music industry, securing a major victory in that fight earlier this year with passage of the Digital Economy Act. The Act will mean the public will eventually face “three-strikes,” website filtering, and a virtual ban on public Wi-Fi in order to tackle illegal file-sharing,If year after year of increasing total annual revenues wasn’t enough to suggest the problem was blown out of proportion, then perhaps the recent disclosure that digital music sales have reached a new high as well.For according to the Official Charts Company, the number of downloads bought in the UK has passed the half-a-billion mark for the very first time, following steady growth over the past six years.“British music fans have pushed the digital revolution to new heights,” says the BPI, perhaps forgetting that it pleaded with govt officials for passage of the Digital Economy Act to ensure that happens. It argued that the music industry would collapse if there weren’t measures in place to weed out illegal downloading.“The surpassing of this latest landmark highlights just how enthusiastically music consumers have taken to legitimate music download services in the UK,” adds Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot. “Sales are continuing to grow too, thanks to the popularity of artists such as Owl City, Eminem, Usher, Katy Perry and Rihanna.”Exactly. Music fans always have and always will be there, it’s just a matter of giving them the content they want, when and where they want it at an affordable price.“This milestone underlines how artists, labels and retailers in the UK have worked together to make Britain one of the world’s most vibrant digital music markets,” says BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor. “There are nearly 70 legal music services, more than any other country, and consumers continue to embrace the choice, value and innovation on offer. 500 million downloads is an astonishing achievement especially given the ongoing backdrop of widespread illegal downloading the music industry still faces.”Hasn’t this been the problem all along: innovation? Critics have long pointed out that the music industry has been its own worst enemy, fighting to protect an outdated business model and refusing to give consumers what they want until declining sales force its hand.If Taylor is correct, that the UK has managed to create “one of the world’s most vibrant digital music markets” then why is the Digital Economy Act still necessary, especially if combined with other facts like year after year of record overall music industry revenues?