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What's so great about the 70 million or so downloads Apple says iTunes managed in more than a year, compared to the one billion (at a conservative estimate) that happen on the peer-to-peer networks every month? The "one billion" figure, which comes from industry observer Big Champagne, helps make the point that downloads from iTunes and the other plastic online music stores supplied by the Big Five record labels don't amount to a hill of beans. But it does raise a question about how many unique songs are available on peer-to-peer networks.
Ok, nobody should contest the fact that there are more titles on the P2P networks than on any paid download site but a lot of it is garbage. So did you take the next step?
Pick any 10 song that had been popular and start the stop watch. Have one person go to iTunes and the other go to what ever P2P server you like. Then see how long it takes you to download a song with the same basic quality as the iTunes song. (128bit WMA or AAC or 160bit MP3).
Now you might come across a couple that iTunes does not offer (but you will know very quickly) and the number of songs that someone is likely to look for that will not be on iTunes drops every day.
Now do the same thing picking out albums. Then from there pick related music from the artist.
iTunes and other paid sites will never bring down P2P on their own, but they do represent a real alternative and combined with regular legal action, they could make a fight of it.
You need a critical mass of users of P2P networks for the system to work. If you reduce the number of people using P2P by half, the resulting more limited service will drop it even further. They don't have to convince everyone to stop using P2P just enough that P2P becomes less useful.