The typical music pirate: an Ed Sheeran fan living in Manchester

Research shows Manchester is the piracy capital of the UK - and Ed Sheeran is the most illegally downloaded

LAST UPDATED AT 13:40 ON Mon 17 Sep 2012

MANCHESTER is the music piracy capital of the UK, according to new research, and the artist whose music is most frequently downloaded by Britons is singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

Monitoring service Musicmetric found that there were more illegal music downloads per person in the home of Oasis and the Stone Roses than anywhere else. Nottingham and Southampton came second and third.

The UK as a whole is the second worst offender for illegal downloads after the US, according to the BBC Italy, Canada and Brazil are third, fourth and fifth respectively. However, these figures are for total downloads and do not take into account population size.

The most pirated album was + by Ed Sheeran, followed Stereo Typical by Rizzle Kicks and Talk That Talk by Rihanna. The full list is below.

Musicmetric's conclusions are based on piracy activity from the first half of 2012, when more than 33m music albums and 10m singles were illegally downloaded by British users of the most popular filesharing website BitTorrent, the Financial Times reports.

This dwarfs the 14.8m in legitimate album downloads bought by the public from retailers and equates to an annual sales loss of £500m.

Andy Heath, director of Beggars Group, the record company responsible for Adele and Dizzee Rascal, said: "Clearly the biggest problem with illegally downloaded music is that there is a generation who feel it is natural that music and all creative content is free.

"Once they are in that mindset it's very difficult for them to see it as not free."

But Ed Sheeran does not appear to be troubled by his popularity among illegal downloaders. Earlier this year, he said he believed many of the nine million people who had by then illegally obtained a copy of his album were paying £18 to go to his gigs.

"There's a decent balance. you can live off your sales and you can allow people to illegally download it and come to your gigs," he said.

TOP MUSIC ALBUMS BY ILLEGAL DOWNLOADS

1. Ed Sheeran - '+'

2. Rizzle Kicks - 'Stereo Typical'

3. Rihanna - 'Talk That Talk'

4. Jessie J - 'Who You Are'

5. Olly Murs - 'In Case You Didn't Know'

6. Emeli Sande - 'Our Version Of Events'

7. Ben Howard - 'Every Kingdom'

8. Chase & Status - 'No More Idols'

9. Chris Brown - 'F.A.M.E'

10. Gotye - 'Making Mirrors · 

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