It’s a bit of a case of ‘no shit, Sherlock, but new academic research has found that the music industry has lost the battle against illegal downloading of music. However, the research from academics at the London School of Economics has also concluded that the 31 per cent decline in global recorded music sales between 2004 and 2010 was not solely attributable to illegal file sharing.

Rather, it found that a number of factors were involved, such as changing patterns of music consumption, increased sales of digital content on online platforms and significantly reduced household disposable income were also to blame. It also found that the music industry’s attempt to suppress peer to peer file sharing to protect their ridiculously outmoded business model had stifled innovation in the industry and missed out on many valuable business opportunities.

The paper by Bart Cammaerts and Binchung Meng also found that the UK’s “DEA [Digital Economy Act] gets the balance between copyright enforcement and innovation wrong. The use of peer-to-peer technology should beencouraged to promote innovative applications. Focusing on efforts to suppress the use of technological advances and toprotect out-of-date business models will stifle innovation in this industry.”

It notes that the decline in sales of recorded music has not affected the live music industry, with the UK live music industry in 2009 worth £1.54 billion, significantly more that the music recording industry which was worth £1.36 billion. The report also unsurprisingly finds that the industry could benefit from an approach music fans have been begging them to take for over 10 years: “Providing user-friendly, hassle-free solutions to enable users to download music legally at a reasonable price, is a much more effective strategy for enforcing copyright than a heavy-handed legislative and regulatory regime.”