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The Most Pirated Artists Of 2013

Written by Greg Moskovitch on January 7, 2014

Singer Bruno Mars has beaten out the likes of Rihanna, Daft Punk, and Justin Timberlake for the dubious honour of being the most pirated artist of 2013, amassing close to 5.8 million illegal downloads last year, according to figures newly released by data analysis firm Musicmetric.

As Billboard reports, Musicmetric’s numbers represent albums and tracks downloaded using the popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, BitTorrent. Musicmetric say that a typical breakdown of BitTorrent music file traffic is 70% albums and 30% tracks, though not all sharing activity is illegal.

American electronic artist Pretty Lights makes his music available for free via BitTorrent, as do infamous Californian experimental outfit Death Grips and legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy, who last year teamed up with Brother Ali to release their latest single via a BitTorrent bundle.

Illegal activity can often approach or surpass legal downloads. Bruno Mars, for example, amassed 641,000 paid album downloads in the US as of 22nd December 2013, taking into account sales from his albums Unorthodox Jukebox and Doo-Wops & Hooligans, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

While legal downloads exceed BitTorrent’s when all tracks are considered, tracks represent only a percentage of an artist’s BitTorrent downloads. Therefore, if 70% of the downloads monitored by Musicmetric were albums, illegal album downloads exceed paid downloads eight times over.

Despite the considerable stats, BitTorrent piracy has been on the wane in recent years, with Musicmetric EVP Daniel Savage telling Billboard, “Previous research that we’ve done indicates that the increased availability of music via streaming is a contributing factor.”

Musicmetric 2013 Most Pirated List

01. Bruno Mars – 5,783,556
02. Rihanna – 5,414,166
03. Daft Punk – 4,212,361
04. Justin Timberlake – 3,930,185
05. Flo Rida – 3,470,825
06. Kanye West – 3,199,969
07. Eminem – 3,176,122
08. Jay Z – 3,171,358
09. Drake – 3,139,408
10. Pitbull – 3,138,308
11. One Direction – 2,920,445
12. Maroon 5 – 2,857,652
13. Zedd – 2,828,764
14. Nicki Minaj – 2,681,177
15. Adele – 2,594,275
16. Avicii – 2,562,151
17. David Guetta – 2,441,235
18. Linkin Park – 2,352,385
19. Pharrell Williams – 2,336,996
20. Katy Perry – 2,318,740

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